Summer’s here and with more consumers being vaccinated, the long-awaited return to bars, restaurants, wineries, taprooms and tours is anticipated. In fact, CGA’s Channel Strategy Study, which delves into 11 different on-premise channels, notes that the “size of the prize opportunities,” post-COVID-19, are huge. The No. 1 on-premise channel is local neighborhood restaurants, with 59% of consumers stating they will return, followed by casual dining chains, with 52% of respondents indicating it as such.

CGA’s study also found that neighborhood bars, the No. 1 drinking channel and No. 3 on the on-premise list, also are showing a positive outlook for summer 2021 and beyond. But, what will bar-goers be drinking when they figuratively “belly up to the bar?”

When it comes to the top drinking trend for summer 2021, Bacardi released a survey of U.S. industry leaders, bartenders and consumers finds, which indicates that rum will have a huge surge in popularity, with the piña colada and mojito being the Top 2 summer cocktails (31% and 30% respectively). The Margarita rounds out the Top 3 with 20% of respondents favoring the classic serve.

Other key findings include:

  • Brunch will become the top dining occasion this summer with 23% of Americans reporting they’ll be enjoying cocktails in the afternoon.
  • Nearly half (46%) of respondents noted that they have shopped for food and drink online at least once a month, showcasing that eCommerce consumer behaviors have permanently changed.
  • People will go out on the town — 64% of Americans note that they plan to go to a bar/restaurant this summer.
  • Consumers also will be imbibing outside with 81% of people planning to spend more time socializing and enjoying drinks outdoors than ever before. In fact, there was a 125% increase in U.S. searches online for “outdoor bars near me.”
  • They’ll also be enjoying cocktails at home, with 45% of people noting that they order spirits bottles online, showcasing that eCommerce patterns engendered during the pandemic are here to stay.
  •  Americans also will enjoy lighter drinks — 19% of Americans have bought no ABV spirits/beer/wine online this year.

For an in-depth look at on-premise rebuilding and recovery tactics and trends, read our June cover story.