One in five consumers now report that the quality of alcohol is “extremely important” when they chose where to go out and eat, up from one in eight in 2015.
Consumers are increasingly choosing to drink alcohol in restaurants, with casual-dining experiences “blurring the lines” between food and drink occasions, according to the independent family distillers.
Cocktails prove popular
Over half (51%) of branded food-led occasions contained at least one alcoholic drink last year, while restaurants accounted for £38m worth of spirits value sales growth in the past year, more than any other market segment.
Cocktails are particularly popular, with 45% of all cocktail drinkers choosing to drink them in restaurants.
There are also 20.9% more restaurants now than in 2011, with street food pop-ups and premium-casual dining experiences both expected to thrive in 2017.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls said: "If customers are beginning to place more emphasis on the perceived 'quality' of drinks, then there is an opportunity for venues to capitalise on the demand for a premium product.
"The first edition of the ALMR's Future Shock Report, published last year, showed that younger customers were increasingly going out to eat, at the expense of going out to drink.
"If venues can tap into the current customer demand for a great 'experiential' night out, there could be an opportunity to introduce new customers to premium drinks and make a dent on a portion of our consumers who eat out with regularity."
Spirit sales soar
William Grant & Sons market report also revealed that spirit sales accounted for more than half of all growth in on-trade alcoholic drinks sales in the past year. This growth has been primarily driven by premium spirits, which are now worth £836m, up 8.7%, as consumers trade up to improve their on-trade experiences.
Earlier this month, pub chefs and owners told The Morning Advertiser their pet peeves when it comes to serving pub food.