Actûrus Gears up to Launch the 12th Year of its Bartender/Influencer and Popular Drinks Studies

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The Actûrus 360 x 360 approach allows brands to look at both sides of the bar

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Bartenders have a very good pulse on both their consumers, and the trajectory of the category as a whole.

Actûrus is gearing up to launch the 12th year of its Bartender/Influencer and Popular and Emerging Drinks Study the results from which provide insights about alcohol-beverage industry brands, category dynamics, and popular and emerging drinks from the view of both bartenders and consumers. The past 11 years have provided a spotlight on trends that accurately predict the winners and losers in this wildly dynamic and cluttered space. This trend data represents the secret to distinguishing which ideas enjoy the highest probability of becoming a trend vs. a fad prior to supplier investment. Leveraging this trend data is essential for success, and Actûrus uniquely provides the necessary insights to allow brands the ability to avoid heavy investment until a potential, short-lived fad proves it has staying power. Getting this 360 x 360 view (i.e., both sides of the bar) of the on-premise is crucial. While consumers are responsible for making the purchase, bartenders frequently start and lead trends, which makes understanding their role invaluable.

There are currently 800,000+ bartenders working in the US. After 11 years of alcohol-beverage research, Actûrus has determined each bartender interacts with approximately 700 consumers each week and creates tens of thousands of touchpoints for your brand. Bartenders’ make a recommendation during 44% of these interactions. Discarding ‘this side of the bar,’ or only focusing on consumers, is short-sighted and doesn’t harness the true power and value of the bartender.

For the past 11 years, our research on both bartenders and consumers has enabled brands to understand their performance from a true 360 x 360 perspective. Actûrus is able to bridge the powerful connection between buyers and their influencers to deliver a richer understanding of the how and why of the recommendation and purchase decision, greatly enhancing the benefits of traditional research.

2015 Popular and Emerging Drinks
The Popular Drinks Study asks over 800 bartenders annually to rank the most popular brands as well as the most popular drinks, shots, shooters (mixed shots), cocktails, flavors, and other categories and drinks differentiators. Additional information is provided to participating suppliers on rankings by account type, markets, demographics, ethnicity and life style among both bartenders and clientele that enable them to make more informed strategic decisions on how optimize drinks strategy. The most often recommended brand results for 2015 include:

Straight Shots     
Patron maintains top mention for the sixth year in a row, followed by Fireball which for the first time in the past 3 years shows distinct signs of plateauing. Jameson, Jack Daniel’s, and Jägermeister round out the top five.

Mixed Shots     
The top five continue to be the blue chip shots: Lemon Drop, Kamikaze, Jager Bomb, newcomer Vegas Bomb, and Washington Apple.

The Margarita retains its ‘most popular cocktail’ spot with the Martini moving into number two. In fact, Margarita has been the ranked the most popular drink for 10 of the last 11 years. The Moscow Mule has continued its rise, and Sex on the Beach makes its first return since 2010.

Simple Mixed Drinks                        
Rum & Coke returns to the top spot, as Whiskey & Coke slides back to number two. Rum & Coke has enjoyed the #1 spot for 10 of the last 11 years. Various combinations of vodka mixed drinks round out the remaining top ten with carbonated mixers the most common (tonic, soda, Red Bull, ginger ale, etc.)

Consumers and Bartenders: the whole picture
“Bartenders have a very good pulse on both their consumers, and the trajectory of the category as a whole. At the end of the day, bartenders are also consumers themselves, and serve as powerful influencers of brand success or failure in the on-trade.” says Kevin Moran, Co-CEO of Actûrus.

The role of the bartender has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, now seen as a profession, not just an interim job. The emergence of the professional bartender is key, and must be understood by suppliers as training and education does- and has been proven to - make a long-term difference.

“Bartenders are staying in their positions longer. As their role develops, so do the skills that are required of them. The elevation of the career has improved the consumer experience (and expectation) as more educated bartenders continue to introduce “Premiumization” into their craft.”

The customized research strategies Actûrus provides are designed to help clients understand not only the alcohol beverage consumer, but also the influencer at the point of purchase. Actûrus'' ability to combine years of experience and 11+ years of beverage-alcohol trend data across hundreds of brands in spirits, beers, ciders, wines and champagnes categories amongst bartenders and consumers (and wait staff, sommeliers and retailers), creates a 360 x 360 perspective and the company uniquely qualified to optimize clients’ business and brand performance.

The 2016 Bartender/Influencer Study and Popular and Emerging Drinks Study will launch in July and August respectively.

For more information, about our alcohol/beverage studies visit us at or call Kevin Moran at 480-595-4754 ext. 1221.

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Anne Laffin
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