Skip to content
EPG Specialty Information StoreEPG Specialty Information Store
Cheers to Winter: Drinks At Home or Away

Cheers to Winter: Drinks At Home or Away

Marina Velez | November 20, 2023

As the leaves turn and the air turns crisp, it's time to raise a glass (or a bottle) to the changing seasons. While fall gradually surrenders to winter's embrace, it's also a season of reflection and exploration. Let's delve into the world of adult beverage consumption, examining both at-home and on-premise preferences and behaviors.

Raise a glass (or a bottle) to autumn as it slides into winter.

As we approach winter it is a good time to explore opinions from adult beverage consumers.

The vast majority of adult beverage consumers drink alcoholic beverages from both retail stores (at home), and establishments like bars or restaurants (on-premise) multiple times during a year, while home delivery, as a source, is still a minor player.

More than half of adult beverage consumers drink alcoholic beverages they purchase in a retail store at least once a week, with away from home consumption less frequent.

When deciding what alcoholic beverage to enjoy, finding a favorite brand tops the list, followed by easy availability. High quality ingredients, something locally made/brewed, promotions, and recommendation from friends or family, are also considerations.   In addition, consumer decisions are impacted by determining a beverage to help them relax, and to enhance their food.

There are many occasions that invite partaking in a drink, with most adults calling out vacations, holidays, barbeques, restaurants, and being out of town as top opportunities.

Overall, consumer expect to drink about the same amount in the upcoming year as they did in the past, but almost 1 in 5 think they will be cutting back a bit.

With the differences in frequency between at home vs away from home (on-premise) establishments, and the fact that most consumers partake in both, it is helpful to understand attitudes and behaviors at home vs on-premise separately.


Food options influence on-premise preferences

Just under half of consumers visit an establishment where you have the opportunity to consume alcohol weekly, while over three quarters visit those establishments at least monthly.  As far as establishment preference for consuming alcohol, restaurants come in as the first choice, followed by breweries/bars.

When deciding where to go out for a drink, the top factors are the food options and atmosphere, but other factors are important to most adult beverage consumers indicating location, price and drink selection all are part of determining where to go.  As far as food options go, full meals are the top preference, followed closely by finger foods or appetizers.

Many consumers like to try out new drinks when they are away from home, pointing to the importance of venues drink specials and selection, as well as server/friend recommendations.  And while trying new drinks is something many do, we know that top choices are a Margarita, Old Fashioned, Bloody Mary, Whiskey Sour or Long Island Iced Tea. Drink variations on the top cocktail choices can provide exploration while also sticking close to the familiar.

Although not of top importance, having non-alcoholic drinks available for friends are a factor which needs to be kept in mind. With all the great “mocktails”, non-alcoholic beers etc. excellent alternatives should be offered at all establishments.

Although restaurants are the #1 venue, consumers like variety, and almost half attend events such as Beer or Wine Tastings. Many attend a few times per year.

Most also like to engage in events such as team sporting finals, or annual events such as St. Patrick’s Day or the Kentucky Derby.  However, fewer than a quarter prefer to go to a bar/restaurant to celebrate vs. at their or someone else’s residence. The lion’s share of those participating in these celebrations consume their usual beverage and don’t change their choice for the event.

Alcoholic beverage consumption at an away-from-home venue has the benefits of getting together with friends without anyone having to “host” the event.  The atmosphere of getting together to watch a sporting event can also add to the excitement and feeling of involvement with a larger group.  In addition, it gives consumers an opportunity to explore new beverages without having to buy the bottle(s) or 6-pack, and to experience more complex cocktails. Since restaurants are the top venue and food a top consideration, on-premise also offers a way to kick back and enjoy a meal and a drink with little effort.


Consumers are partial to enjoying a drink at home

Given at-home consumption frequency, and knowing that most consumers, during many types of events and celebrations, prefer to get together at a residence (their own or friends), we wanted to understand more about at-home (off-premise) behavior and attitudes.

Wine, Beer, and Spirits are all common beverages consumed. Cocktails aren’t as prevalent, but still consumed at home by about one-third of households. During the pandemic we saw an uptick in at-home mixology, and with the expansion of quality premade cocktails, cocktails at home are likely to continue to grow.

Most are with partners/spouses when they consume alcohol at home, and just over half also consume when they are by themselves.  Alcohol is part of the experience when guests are over among just under half of consumers.

When deciding what to purchase for at-home use, promotions influence consumers to stock up on their favorite beverage/brand, or to add to the home bar.  Since over 8 in 10 households stock up in some way promotions can provide a win-win.

Although there are many options as to where to purchase and consume an alcoholic beverage, buying in a store for at-home use is the most likely due to convenience, cost, and the safety of not worrying about driving after a drink.

Overall, most consumers responsibly enjoy both the social and the relaxation aspects of an adult beverage, both at home or on-premise.

about the author

Marina Velez

Research Director, EPG Specialty Information

Cart 0

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping