Cocktails have a powerful hold over the UK drinks industry with 1 in 5 of us opting for cocktails when out drinking with friends. The array of flavours, shapes, sizes, garnishes and pure possibilities borne from cocktails continually stretches the creativity of bar professionals, and the appetites of drinkers.

London Cocktail Week (LCW) arrived in the capital at the start of this month. As one of the biggest drinks festivals in Europe the week proved the significance of cocktail drinking in todays entertainment and drinks culture. Despite coinciding with 60,000 UK consumers taking a pledge to abstain from alcohol this month as part of the social movement ‘Go Sober for October’, over 30,000 guests flocked to join this one city celebration of cocktails. If more evidence is needed, last year top London cocktail bar White Lyan reported a 50% increase in revenue in the weeks before, during and after the festival. Cocktail culture is extremely impactful and brands that understand how best to fit in this sector will reap commercial and cultural success. 

Open to both trade and consumers, DrinkUp.London’s annual celebration is jam-packed days of international bar collaborations, pop-ups, masterclasses, brand activations and specially discounted cocktails from over 300 participating bars. The festival hub ‘The Cocktail Village’ showcases 40 different creative brand experiences.

Assembling both major and small drinks brands, top international bartenders, hundreds of London’s best cocktail bars and tens of thousands of consumers, LCW offered unique insight into the cocktail trends with the power to shape the future of the industry. Wonderworks spent the week soaking this up.

The following report is a collation of our observations, analyses and commentaries from our exploration of the week. We explain what we believe are the key cocktail trends set to determine drinking habits, business and branding in the year ahead. As we know that successful brands are those that continually adapt to the changing needs, motivations and expectations of audiences driving trends. 

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