According to GuestMetrics, bourbons continued to display strong growth in full service restaurants and bars in the first quarter of 2013, helped by particular strength among flavored bourbons.
“It appears that bourbons continued their on-premise momentum during the first quarter of 2013. Our data indicates bourbons gained about 150 basis points of sales share and 190 basis points of unit share of the overall spirits category during Q1,” says Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. “This follows the strong growth that Bourbons displayed during 2012, gaining about 110 basis points of sales share and 120 basis points of unit share of the overall on-premise spirits category compared to 2011,” Pecoriello continues.
“Interestingly, when we dug further into the data, we see that much of the strength in bourbons is due to growth in flavors. While flavored bourbons accounted for about 4 percent of total bourbons sales and 5 percent of the total number of Bourbon drinks sold last year, they accounted for roughly half of the growth of bourbon’s share of the broad spirits category both in 2012 and during the first quarter of 2013,” says Peter Reidhead, VP of strategy and insights at GuestMetrics. “Looking at the specific bourbon flavors, the strongest during 2012 in terms of contribution to bourbon’s share growth of the overall spirits category were cinnamon, honey, and sweet tea.”
“From a restaurant operator’s perspective, however, the growth in flavored spirits is a bit of a mixed story. While it’s certainly a positive that flavored spirits are driving strong growth across the overall spirits category, we are seeing a lower price/mix that comes along with that growth,” says Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics. “In our universe of restaurants and bars, when we analyze the overall spirits category comparing the 93 percent of non-flavored spirits versus the 7 percent of flavored spirits, flavored spirits had average pricing about 14 percent below non-flavored spirits.”