Skip to content
EPG Specialty Information StoreEPG Specialty Information Store
Adult Beverage Consumption Trends: Insights into On-Premise and Off-Premise Buying Habits in 2023

Adult Beverage Consumption Trends: Insights into On-Premise and Off-Premise Buying Habits in 2023

Tristin Burdick | May 31, 2023

As we transition from spring to summer—a period marked by increased social activities—understanding the patterns and preferences of adult beverage consumers becomes crucial. With this in mind, let's dive deeper into the current landscape and dynamics of the adult beverage market.

This article delves into these patterns, guided by an extensive survey spanning various aspects of consumer interactions, buying habits, choice factors, and consumption tendencies both in public establishments and at home. Key findings underscore the dominance of retail stores and on-premise establishments like bars and restaurants for alcoholic beverage sourcing, while home delivery emerges as a growing, yet currently minor player.

But, where exactly are consumers choosing to enjoy these beverages?

The consumption of adult beverages sees diverse patterns across different venues and contexts. Retail stores (i.e., liquor stores, grocery stores that sell alcohol, convenience stores that sell alcohol, etc.) emerge as a popular source for at-home consumption, with more than half of consumers opting to enjoy alcoholic beverages purchased in-store at least once a week. On-premise consumption, such as in bars or restaurants, is a less frequent, yet significant part of the consumer habit, reinforcing the interconnected roles of both retail and on-premise establishments in the adult beverage market.

Now, let's consider what drives these choices.

A number of factors sway consumers in deciding their drink of choice. Brand loyalty takes the forefront, illustrating the importance of building a strong brand presence in this industry. However, other factors also play a part: easy availability, high-quality ingredients, and the allure of locally made or brewed beverages. Notably, promotions and recommendations from friends or family can also shape consumer choices, emphasizing the power of marketing strategies and social networks in this realm.

Let's now explore the various occasions that drive consumption.

Various occasions encourage beverage consumption, with vacations, holidays, barbecues, and outings being top opportunities. As we move forward, these preferences and behaviors are poised to shape the dynamics of the adult beverage market. To better understand this, we'll delve deeper into the specific patterns of consumption.

The public sphere of beverage consumption provides consumers with varied experiences and offerings. A sizeable number of consumers frequent establishments where alcohol is available, at least weekly or monthly. Restaurants emerge as the preferred venue, followed closely by breweries and bars.

But what exactly sways their choice of venue?

The choice of where to enjoy a drink hinges on a number of factors, with food options and atmosphere leading the way. Location, price, and drink selection also influence consumer choices, indicating that the perfect on-premise venue needs to balance multiple elements. Food preference leans towards full meals, though finger foods or appetizers also hold a strong appeal.

Now, you may be wondering, does venue choice also influence drink selection?

Interestingly, on-premise establishments also serve as testing grounds for new drinks. Many consumers express interest in trying new beverages, pointing to the importance of drink specials, selection variety, and recommendations. Additionally, non-alcoholic options should not be overlooked, as they also play a role in consumer preferences.

Speaking of preferences, how do special occasions play into this?

On-premise establishments provide a platform for events, ranging from tastings to sports finals. Despite the popularity of these gatherings, fewer than a quarter prefer to celebrate these occasions away from home, highlighting the complex interplay between on-premise and off-premise consumption. Speaking of which, let's turn our attention to the latter, starting with drink preferences at home.

The at-home setting offers its own unique context for adult beverage consumption. Wine, beer, and spirits are common selections, with cocktails also finding a place in about a third of households. Trends such as the rise of at-home mixology during the pandemic and the availability of quality premade cocktails suggest that this category may continue to grow.

Let's explore the social dynamics around this at-home consumption.

The company of a partner or spouse often accompanies at-home alcohol consumption, and over half of consumers also partake when alone. Alcoholic beverages often contribute to the ambiance when guests are over, creating a social atmosphere at home. This hints at the importance of understanding the different scenarios in which beverages are consumed.

Promotions greatly influence at-home consumption decisions, incentivizing consumers to stock their favorite beverages or expand their home bar. As over 80% of households engage in some form of stocking up, promotions can provide mutual benefits for consumers and retailers alike.

This ties in neatly with other considerations driving at-home consumption trend.

From a high-level perspective, convenience, cost, and safety concerns (e.g., not having to worry about driving home drunk, etc.) contribute to the preferences for at-home consumption. Through understanding these behaviors and attitudes towards off-premise consumption, industry players can better cater to the needs and preferences of adult beverage consumers. Now that we've explored the specific patterns and preferences in adult beverage consumption, let's take a step back to reflect on what we've learned.

Throughout the article, we've explored the complexities of adult beverage consumption patterns. A key insight is that the decision-making process for beverage choice is multifaceted, driven by factors such as brand preference, quality, local origin, and promotions. Consumption venues vary widely too, from on-premise establishments like bars and restaurants to off-premise options such as home consumption.

But what does this all mean for the industry?

Understanding these patterns has significant implications for the beverage industry. On-premise providers can leverage the appeal of a social atmosphere, varied drink selection, and quality food to draw in customers. Off-premise retailers can capitalize on the rising trend of at-home mixology and the importance of convenience and cost-effectiveness. Businesses can adapt their strategies, aligning with these consumer preferences to foster loyalty and drive sales. As we wrap up, let's consider the path forward in this area of research.

This analysis offers a foundation for future research into evolving consumer behaviors in the adult beverage sector. Future studies could explore changes in consumption patterns over time, the impact of evolving social norms, or the influence of macroeconomic factors. Deeper understanding in these areas can further equip industry players to stay ahead of the market and make strategic decisions. We hope this exploration sparks further investigation and conversation in this dynamic and evolving field.

about the author

Tristin Burdick

Research Analyst, EPG Specialty Information

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping