Drinks specialist Belle Lawrence from social media consultant Immediate Future uses Brandwatch analytics to deliver insights into at-home drinking habits

The pandemic brought an increase in drinking at-home, a trend that shows no sign of slowing, according to Brandwatch analysis of more than 40 million UK social media posts and conversations that took place in the six months to March 14.

Discussion on the planning of domestic drinks is 123% higher than pre-pandemic levels. Cost is the main driver, cited as the reason for 42% of home drinking occasions, a figure that has risen 6% in the past six months.

The quality of experience matters, too. Cocktails are often thought expensive, but worth it in terms of value. There has been a decline in interest in cocktails overall, but significant growth for particular recipes.

The cocktails that have received significant upswings in attention are Espresso Martini (50%) and Mojito (18%). The top three most discussed cocktails are Mojito (29%), Cosmopolitan (17%) and Espresso Martini (13%).

There has also been a rise in interest in spirits recipes. Gin drinks account for 27% of the chatter around cocktails, with rum taking 19% and vodka 15%. There was a 500% surge in mentions of whisky cocktails but activity around gin cocktails was down 29%.

General mentions of cocktails have seen a 50% fall compared to the previous half-year, but they still remain the most discussed drink. They take 37% of the share of the conversation by drinks type, with beer on 18% and wine 16%.

What these trends show is that consumers have an enormous appetite for exploring and adopting new drinks and new ideas. They seek advice on what to try and readily pass recommendations on.

Drinks preferences are not the only things that have changed. During lockdown, the conversation around in-home drinks consumption was centred on recipes and serves: home parties and pre-drinks each account for 27% of posts, and quiet drinks 25%. 

Occasions being a focal point means retailers need to use imagination in adopting marketing aimed at finished serves, preferably incorporating visuals.

Friday is the day of the week when drinks at home are discussed most. Cocktail recipes are mostly talked about on social media earlier in the week, peaking on Tuesday. Analysis clearly identifies what and when retailers should be saying to influence the buying habits of consumers who have strong appetites for searching and trying new drinks.

Obtaining detailed insights on what shoppers are saying, motivations and buying triggers enables social conversations to be joined, and significantly influenced, using communication that is on-message at optimum times.

Insights can also be applied to fine tune offline activity, such as in-store and cross promotions that are in sync with exactly what shoppers are talking about – and looking for. Another benefit of close consumer tracking is the ability to stay in step with target audiences to create connections and loyalty that keeps them coming back for more.