written by Glenn Haussman
NEW YORK – It’s finally time for mocktails to take center stage, but it’s been a long time coming. Fortunately, cocktail culture of the last 15 years set the stage for the creative proficiency that’s kickstarting the mocktail movement.
Collectively we’ve seen the rise of exotic ingredients and ever-increasingly complex recipes. We’ve learned the rationale behind which of 476 different types of ice cubes is right for this specific drink.
Therefore it’s no surprise that as society shifts to embracing healthier lifestyles, so would its drinks. Sober Curious, and its cousin Dry January, are two strong signals that people are moving away from alcohol—or at least not drinking as much of it.
Hoteliers must do the same. While anecdotal reports say that Dry January is denting profits, smart operators are adding a panoply of creative nonalcoholic drinks that celebrate the essence and experience of cocktail culture without the hangover. Plus, this move creates a stronger revenue stream among nondrinkers creating a perfect upsell opportunity from a soda, glass of water, or tasteless non-alcoholic beer.
The percentage of drinkers per generation is dropping precipitously. According to a report from Berenberg Research, Gen Z drinks 20% less per capita than Millennials, while Millennials are drinking less than Gen X and Baby Boomers.
That means this is more than a good idea—it’s essential. To retain profitability over time, mocktails will be a centerpiece strategy for smart hoteliers going forward looking to protect their bottom line with high revenue products. When it comes to defining a strong F&B, offering a mocktails program is a serious strategy that will put you at the forefront of hospitality innovation while protecting and perhaps increasing your customer base.
Glenn Haussman is president of Rouse Media and host of the No Vacancy podcast.