So that was 2018. A year of World Cup semi-finals, long hot summers, Love Island and political uncertainty. Yet it was also the year we fell back in love with the liqueur.
Yes, liqueurs. That curious beverage previously only consumed on your summer holiday in Italy or if a relative had felt merry enough to dust a bottle off the shelves at Christmas; something that left your average everyday drinker feeling slightly bemused.
Times have now changed, of course, with liqueurs having since gone on to take a thirsty nation by storm in recent years. For in 2018, you were just as likely to find a liqueur in your glass as you were an ice cube. Just as gin has ditched its Mother’s Ruin roots to undergo a full Ginaissance transformation, the liqueur too has now enjoyed a glorious revival.
Be it in pubs and clubs, bars and restaurants or the comfort of your own home, the liqueur was right there with you in 2018. In fact, the British consumed a whopping 42 million bottles of the stuff last year, be that out on the town or on a quiet night in, with sales in both the on- and off-trade sectors totalling a cool £1.2 billion.
According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), this spike in sales is down to the nation’s thirst for cocktails and new ingredients to fill them with. This is something we’ve experienced first hand at ALTER working with The King’s Ginger, a ginger liqueur that can be enjoyed on its own or in a number of invigorating cocktails.
Looking to take advantage of both this liqueur boom and the public’s thirst for something new, The King’s Ginger introduced the King’s & Tonic – a more colourful G&T – alongside a number of other cocktail serves including the King’s Fizz and King’s Summer Cup. The King’s & Tonic is a natural progression for existing gin & tonic drinkers looking for something a little different to add to their drinks repertoire.
The rise of liqueurs in 2018 was, according to the WSTA, partly down to Britain’s long, hot summer, “when tall cocktails over ice were a welcome relief in the heatwave.” Indeed. During the summer months, British consumers bought more than four million bottles of non-cream liqueurs – a figure up 56% on the same time period in 2017 – with herbal bitter liqueurs and red-orange aperitifs particularly reaping the rewards.
And who can forget social media’s role in things? As ever, it had its part to play, with the WSTA attributing a chunk of the success down to people sharing their cocktail creation trends on their social media accounts – and thus consumers eagerly seeking to recreate those concoctions back at home.
And who can blame them? A red-orange aperitif spritzer will make anyone look like they are living their best life.
Here’s to another year of liqueurs!