Every year we celebrate London Cocktail Week to see what’s new, what tastes good, who’s doing what, and check out how cocktailing should be done.
While our love of cocktails and the booze industry is aplenty, our livers are sadly not capable of doing it all… but we have checked out some of the very best of LCW and highlighted some insights and trends we think have stood out, discussed with bartenders and consequently think there is some learning to take from to get ahead of the game!
Here is a brief summary of what we’ve learned, with a more in-depth report available on request that also includes photos of each of the stands at the London Cocktail Week Village and notable serves.
The bars call
Being a bartender is becoming more than just a job, with renowned bartenders becoming minicelebs. Giving a bar or renowned bartender the opportunity to do what they do best with less brand ownership, helps deliver a better, more credible experience.
Growing and sharing landscape
Whilst there’s great talent in London, there’s a world of maybe slightly more obscure markets discovering their own cocktail trends, ingredients and experiences. Capitalising on a residency from these markets and the stories behind them gives diversity, stories and depth to a brand, whilst driving advocacy in consumers locally and bartenders globally.
Simplicity is the flavour
Like the very best restaurants, reducing the number of ingredients and focusing on a key hero flavour is delivering a better drinking experience. This trend is being utilised by more and more bars, and industry led by bartenders like Rich Woods and Matt Whiley.
Adding value by breaking the mould
Whether it’s cheeky food pairings, a free tattoo or a personalised blended bottle of whisky, adding value to the experience will only drive consumer engagement, sharing and advocacy – which was prominent throughout the week.
Getting the party started
Great expertise making a drink is key, but creating a banging and friendly atmosphere
will fill your bar, even if the drinks are a beer and a shot. World Class nailed it and bars like LCC live by it. Also, sometimes the most engaging experience is the simplest and least contrived, e.g. the worlds largest Pina Colada.
The importance of menus
Long menus can put consumers off, making them shorter, easy to navigate (e.g. by season, colour or theme) or giving alternative and interesting content relevant to the serve (E.G. Callooh Callay Street Art menu) can keep consumers at the bar for longer, trying more and sharing their experience.
Drinking at home
Getting consumers to the bar is important, but more consumers will be staying at home over the colder months or to just save money. The opportunity is to show them they can make simple drinks with what’s around the kitchen and how to create a sociable experience at home, but also partnering with those that can drive this, like Deliveroo.
If you build it they will come
The best insight of the week to drive bar advocacy, is if you have a bar that is still open after bartenders finish work and holds a late licence, then they will be there. And if they’re enjoying the bar, consumers will follow.
World Class & Seedlip
It’s apparent that Diageo’s investment is working its way into the World Class portfolio, which can only mean their development of the non-alcoholic cocktail for World Class 2017 and owning this trend globally.