Top Drinks Trends to Get Customers Thirsty for More in 2023

We caught up with KAM, a leading Market Research company in UK Hospitality, on its latest insights into how consumers will be drinking differently.

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While the year ahead is bound to have its challenges with the continuation of rising costs impacting both businesses and consumers, there are still opportunities for operators as we head into 2023. In fact, it is these same challenges that offer something tasty to look forward to as the economic backdrop has generated some of the most interesting and rapidly changing drinks trends for 2023.

So how will the backdrop of challenges affect what and how consumers drink and behave and where should operators hedge their bets?

1. ‘We don’t want to see it on supermarket shelves’

Now more than ever, consumers desire drinks in the on-trade to be something they can’t buy in supermarkets. Almost two thirds (65%) of those asked said they wanted drinks that are hard to find or aren’t seen in the supermarket[1].

This gives operators permission to step up the theatrics, flavour combinations and serve styles of their drinks to ensure their offering stands out to consumers as something with a real point of difference.


  • Put a spin on classic mixed drink serves such as gin and tonic with the introduction of house syrups and garnishes made using interesting ingredients. This helps to elevate familiar offerings to a new level and can be done with trusted brands such as Britvic’s range of tonics and mixers with a few simple, but impactful changes.
  • Create video content to share via social channels and your website of these drinks being put together to showcase the ingredients and brands being used
  • Experiment with flavours and use a regular special to gauge what works best for your customers

2. Healthy heroes will drive trade

The aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic led many consumers to reassess their health and they will continue to strive for healthy lifestyles into the New Year. It is therefore worth noting that 62% of those asked said that wanting to be healthy is a barrier to going to pubs and bars more often[2].

More than half (54%) of consumers are also making a conscious effort to consume healthier options, while 37% are doing so to benefit their mental health[3].

Operators should therefore turn such challenges into unique selling points by developing health-centric food and drink menus to market to consumers from January and beyond. Don’t forget about healthier options when it comes to your children’s menus too – many parents will want to see a variety of healthy food and drink available to help them decide where to eat out.


  • Make sure healthier options are accessible, with set price meal deals including light bites and no sugar drink options to choose from
  • Consider visual cues to indicate healthier options such as garnishing Bloody or Virgin Marys with giant sprigs of kale for example.
  • Create a range of low and lower calorie alternatives to existing drinks so consumers can have their favourites with less guilt. Those from big name brands, such as Pepsi MAX® or 7UP Free, are a crucial part of any offering, whether being served alone or as a mixer.

3. Alcohol-free takes a bigger step forward

not necessarily a new trend, interest and take-up of low and no alcohol drinks has taken one of the biggest jumps forward since the trend first came onto the radar several years ago. Over half (55%) of consumers want to reduce their alcohol consumption in 2023 – up from 32% in the previous year and even higher for Gen Z drinkers at 65%[4].

Awareness of low and no has also shot up from 86% in 2020 to 95% in 2022, while 83% of drinkers have tried an alcohol-free alternative in 2022, compared with 66% two years ago[5].

This means, alongside a health-focused drinks range, operators can tap into the low and no alcohol movement further by stocking a wider range of options. Ensure to provide familiar as well as new and different options to cater for a broader customer base. Now is also the time to create and put in place a range of house sodas, which can be low-cost, high-return options.  


  • Treat alcohol-free options as you would any other drink and elevate the serve with garnishes, premium glassware and theatre to provide the customer with value for money
  • House mocktails and 0% alternatives within the relevant sections on your drinks menu, not on their own as they’re then harder to spot
  • Soft drinks play a key role when it comes to no alcohol choices – make sure you have a range of premium options too to encourage guests to trade up

4. Lower spend is a bigger opportunity

Challenging economic periods of the past have shown consumers view drinking and dining out as an affordable luxury and are willing to visit the on-trade and spend, as long as their experience is perceived as good value for money.

Over a third (37%) of consumers said they’d tried to spend less money when out in the last quarter of 2022[6]. Some 34% said they were going to visit pubs and restaurants less frequently and 26% said they would opt for cheaper menu items – 20% of whom cited cheaper drinks specifically[7].

However, near a quarter (24%) of those asked said they hadn’t or wouldn’t make any efforts to reduce their spend in the on-trade. This provides operators with the opportunity to cater to an even wider range of consumers with offerings tiered by price in a good, better and best format.

Not only does the format allow accessibility for those looking to spend a little less on a range of affordable drinks, but it gives outlets two upsell opportunities while still catering to those who want to splash out on a super-premium experience.


  • Stock big name brands that customers are familiar with within the good value tier
  • Use garnishes and cordials to premiumise simple serves, or explore flavoured sodas and tonics as elevated mixers
  • Think about creating an experience for guests where they can be involved in the mixing of their drink for example; let them add the finishing touch or final ingredient which will change the look of the creation

5. Brands need to drive environmental credentials harder

Consumers’ focus on the direct actions they can take to tread with a greener footprint has declined slightly from 31% in 2021 to 28% in 2022[8]. However, operators should not see this as permission to take their foot off the pedal when it comes to improving and driving their own sustainability credentials. This is because consumers still want to be more environmentally friendly but would like to see brands take more of the load on their behalf[9].

This means brands with a visible and positive sustainability agenda will likely be able to elevate themselves above the competition and attract consumers looking to partake in some guilt-free indulgence.


  • Ensure messaging on websites, social media and menus highlights when products are sourced locally and name check suppliers
  • Reduce packaging through the use of hardware such as London Essence’s tonic font and highlight this accordingly
  • Try using wonky fruits and vegetables as garnishes and to create juices, syrups and shrubs for drinks to save on any wastage

[1] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022 

[2] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022

[3] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022

[4] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022

[5] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022

[6] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022

[7] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022

[8] KAM, Drinking Differently – 5 Key Trends for 2023 and Beyond, October 2022


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