As the world’s largest privately owned spirits company, Bacardi utilizes an effective, yet enjoyable technique to detect prominent spirit trends.
It’s not as complicated as it seems. Believe it or not, all that’s required is for employees to leave their offices and get “Back to the Bar.” Yes, you read that correctly. It’s a day of the year Bacardi dedicates to expressing its gratitude toward the respective trade. Back to the Bar’s title is quite literal; it entails 7000+ employees “clocking in” to bars across multiple time zones from New Zealand and Australia to California and Hawaii, stopping in Dubai, London, and New York.
Jacob Briars, Global Advocacy Director for Bacardi, elaborated on how a casual bar experience can turn into a worthy business venture.
“As well as creating a great sense of occasion and building a stronger culture among our teams, the global nature of ‘Back to the Bar’ helps us spot whether something is a phenomenon or a global trend. In 2018, we saw a spike in no- and low-abv drinks on menus, as bartenders looked to offer these choices to the ‘mindful drinker.’ That trend is now fully mainstream, and Back to the Bar allowed us to spot the scale of it and act fast to create products to meet that demand.”
– Jacob Briars, Global Advocacy Director for Bacardi
Briars also recalled a product that stemmed directly from a prior B.T.T.B. day: “A great case in point is the launch of Martini Fiero, which was our response to consumers who were looking for a new take on the modern ‘aperitivo’ drink trend. We have successfully launched in select markets in Europe, and it is coming soon to the United States.”
Overall, the event is mutually beneficial for both sides of the industry, giving employees a glimpse of ‘walking the factory floor’ and putting them in touch with what’s happening at the very foundation for its business—in bars.
“Back to the Bar is our way of thanking the trade. I may be biased but bartenders are the unsung heroes of this industry, as they are the ones in the bars everyday talking to their guests, delivering great drinks experiences, and that is how we build our brands,” says Briars.
According to Nielsen CGA, 40% of revenue in bars is influenced by bartenders, who are the go-to experts helping guests pick drinks. “This is why we decided to poll bartenders,” explains Briars. “Thanks to them, the 2020 report has provided us with insights into what’s new and trending for the spirits industry,” such as:
- Mindful drinking has gone mainstream—83% of bartenders cite that low-alcohol drinks are hot.
- Natural products are in the spotlight with 31% of bartenders increasingly interested in local, fresh ingredients.
- Aged rum is the next big thing—43% of bartenders ranked it as the top spirit to premiumize.
- RTDs are back, but they look different—there was a 26% increase in North America, but this time it is classic cocktail and hard soda flavors.
- Bartenders have more career options than ever before, which means. Taking better care of themselves is key. Bartender health and fitness is a big trend and one we are helping to meet with programs like Cazadores ‘Bar Spar’ boxing and Martini ‘Ciclismo’ cycling programs.