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More than a quarter ‘willing to try’ whiskey in US, report claims

More than a quarter of spirits drinkers are willing to try whiskey, according to a new report by Union’s OnPrem Insights.

The study, ahead of World Whiskey Day on 20 May, looked at the drinking patterns of customers across the firm’s bars and restaurants estate in the US.

It discovered 84% of drinkers would return to whiskey within a five-year period and 37% ordered it on at least half subsequent trips. According to the data, the category had an overall retention of 53% – in line with vodka and other spirits categories.

Within whiskey subcategories, the study found US drinkers at Union’s venues were most likely to return for American whiskeys (74%) with Irish being preferred by around two-thirds of repeat customers (65%) followed closely by Canadian brands (63%). When not choosing whiskies, customers were most likely to order vodka (22%) and tequila (15%).

The report also found house cocktails were popular, alongside occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day, with mainstream mid-price brands the most popular for customers who frequently drank whiskey.

Union Bars Whiskey Report
Source: OnPrem Insights by Union, 2022

Union also said its findings illustrated “all brands have the potential” to become “go-to” drinks – and brand recognition was meaningful to customers when it came to re-ordering at the next bar visit.

Speaking about the findings, Layne Cox, Union’s Chief Marketing Officer, said: “We already know that whiskey is a huge aspect of cocktail bar culture, but with Union’s granular on premise ordering data we can confirm that the spirit thrives even in larger bar and restaurant settings.

“By looking at actual guest purchases within Union’s network, we can see exactly what, and how, customers order whiskey.”

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