Thursday, September 24, 2020
Home Business Brandy and Gin Are the Perfect Drinks in a Pandemic

Brandy and Gin Are the Perfect Drinks in a Pandemic

As bars, pubs and restaurants shut down, Americans and Brits wanting a tipple had little choice but to sip in their living rooms, gardens and balconies. Instead of pouring a quick beer after work, however, come 5:30 or 6 p.m. many would try their hand at crafting a Negroni or an Aperol spritz. Perhaps they even had time to bring out that bottle of vermouth last seen a few holidays ago and experiment with new creations.  

It helps that the appetite for cocktails has grown in recent years, as many consumers, particularly younger Americans, have turned away from mass-market beer and toward different drinks, including spirits. Ever more focused on healthy living, they prefer to drink less alcohol, but make it premium.

Now mixing a drink at home has become a special occasion — a moment of indulgence, a way to socialize and an excuse to swap sweatpants for something smarter.

It’s no surprise that Cointreau, an ingredient in the Margarita, the Sidecar and the Cosmopolitan, has been the star performer for the company this year. The spirit’s retail sales have managed to offset lost sales in bars and pubs. But across the group’s portfolio, the thirst for homemade concoctions can’t fully make up for the decline in liquor sales through restaurants, bars and travel retail — venues where people are more inclined to trade up to a pricier tipple and where demand has mostly collapsed.

Despite the better-than-expected performance, Remy Cointreau’s first-half operating profits are still projected to fall by between 35% and 40% from the same time last year.

The situation for beer brewers is likely to be even worse. Consumers not only trade down when drinking beer at home, they often choose the cheapest option in the supermarket. After years of slowing growth for mainstream beer brands, that’s more bad news for the likes of heavily indebted brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev SA. Meanwhile, the picture for wine is mixed: Demand has stalled in the U.S. and U.K. over the past couple of years, but it looks to have gotten a lift from lockdown.

Profit pressures should ease as more bars and restaurants reopen. But amid rising unemployment, some consumers may rein in their spending wherever they choose to drink. Others may still be nervous about venturing out, further entrenching the trend for home drinking.

The garden gin-and-tonic may be a feature for some time yet.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Andrea Felsted is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She previously worked at the Financial Times.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Flashback: Kamala Harris said nationwide protests are 'not going to stop'

Months before Louisville and other major U.S. cities contended with renewed demonstrations following the grand jury ruling in the death of Breonna Taylor, Democratic...

Ben Shapiro slams celebrity outcry over Breonna Taylor case: 'The law is not a repository for your ire'

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro spent part of Thursday's edition of "The Ben Shapiro Show" responding to the outcry from celebrities who criticized Kentucky Attorney...

Heat get chance Friday to oust Celtics, reach NBA Finals

The volume of text messages that Miami guard Tyler Herro got after Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals was overwhelming. He didn’t...

Loeffler introduces bill to ramp up penalties for election interference, amid fears of ballot tampering

EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Kelly Loeffler, R-Ga., introduced legislation Thursday to ramp up criminal penalties against those who attempt to interfere with the election process,...

Recent Comments