Industry Trends

Cold Brew: One of the Hottest Trends in Cocktails

Flavors to Know: Coffee

Feb. 10, 2020

A new generation of coffee-infused products is recharging consumer thirst for the potent combination of caffeine and alcohol. The buzz on coffee-related products continues to bubble over, as last year ready-to-drink coffee products grew 16 percent, netting $3 billion in sales.* Spiking this trend with craft spirits creates a mixture for success.

We’ve served up three things you need to know about this trend.

Not Your Grandfather’s Coffee Liqueur
Coffee liqueurs of the past may bring to mind a milky or syrupy mixture that a modern craft connoisseur would prefer to avoid. This new wave of innovative products often infuses the trendy cold brew coffee with the spirit —and in some cases even use it to bring the spirit to proof —to create a result that capitalizes on consumers’ ever-growing interest in cold brew.

While energy drinks and sodas are classic picks for mixers and a pick-me-up, coffee-infused options are providing alternatives for both.

“If you’re looking for a post-work jolt of energy with your whiskey cocktail, why not add a splash of a natural-flavored coffee liqueur?” said Jill Sites, Breakthru’s Director of Craft and Emerging Brands. “For anyone looking for a substitute for energy drinks, this is a great option.”

Another perk, many cold brew spirits have as much as 10 times the caffeine of traditional coffee liqueurs, with 50 percent less sugar, a value add for health-conscious drinkers.

Shelf-placement strategy is key for the retail environment. These innovative new offerings deserve their own space to differentiate themselves from the old guard of coffee liqueurs.

Caffeinated Cocktails
Coffee is no stranger to cocktails, but coffee-infused spirits are ideally suited for mixology.

“This new generation of coffee liqueurs is finding itself based in vodka, rather than rum,” Sites said. “This gives it much more mixability and versatility.”

Classic concoctions, such as Irish Coffee, get a facelift with cold brew-infused spirits, which are also finding their way into trendy new takes on staples, especially the “Cold Fashioned.”

Consumers who have just entered the cocktail market, such as young millennials and older Gen Zers, are drawn to trying these classic offerings when paired with the cold brew infusion they are already hooked on.

“This cold brew concept isn’t just some new trend,” Sites explained.  “It invites younger LDA (legal drinking age) consumers who grew up drinking Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts to find something familiar on menus and shelves. It’s nearly a guaranteed win.”

The New Buzz at Brunch
One unexpected place that these new coffee-infused spirits are finding themselves is brunch menus. Whether straight, on the rocks or included in a cocktail, cold brew spirits are taking their rightful place alongside mimosas and Bloody Marys as the drink of choice. Coffee-infused cocktails can be a more versatile pairing with brunch staples than many of the traditional libations, with the added bonus of complementing dessert options as well.

Later in the day, coffee-infused spirits can serve double duty as customers’ post-meal cocktail.

Contact your sales consultant today to place your order and take advantage of this percolating trend.

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*Nielsen

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