Bespoke experiences and Generation Z

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46% of people under the age of 35 are likely to order a mocktail when at a bar or restaurant, according to a recent survey. The research by soft drinks company Franklin & Sons polled 1,000 people to learn more about British drinking habits and discovered some interesting facts.

Generation Z customers (those born after 1995) are four times as likely to spend up to £15 on a single cocktail compared to older generations, and they expect trendy ingredients, high quality and potential for Instagram attention. Gen Z consumers also expect their drinks to pick up an average of 74 likes on Instagram.

“We are seeing a definite shift in the way people drink,” Jen Draper, head of marketing at Franklin & Sons, told Boutique Hotelier, “the previous norm of a few pints on a night out is clearly becoming a thing of the past, with younger generations willing to spend more for their perfect serve – drinks with premium, on-trend ingredients, delivered through exceptional service. This is now the benchmark for an ideal night out among the younger generations – irrespective of whether they are drinking alcohol or not.”

It’s encouraging to see Gen Z consumers thinking carefully about how much alcohol they drink and considering alternative options. And at a time when low alcohol drinks are becoming increasingly popular, bartenders and mixologists are coming up with fresh and exciting ways to deliver mocktails.

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For generation Z, markets are becoming saturated, with brands screaming to get their attention at any cost. But the power is increasingly being handed over to young people. With so many food and drink options at their disposal, anyone can pick and choose exactly what they want and have come to expect personalisation from businesses. After all, personalisation is customer service, and customer service is how brands can really differentiate themselves.

Embracing mocktails


Opting for low alcohol or non-alcoholic drinks is intrinsically linked to personalisation and consumer choice. Consumers want greater choice, and therefore it’s crucial that bars and restaurants accommodate the needs of their abstaining guests with more than just a simple soda or fruit juice, as well as providing a bespoke experience.

According to research published in the medical journal BMC Public Health, carried out by the University College London, almost a third of 16-24-year olds in 2015 said they didn’t drink, compared with roughly one in five in 2005. This huge increase in non-drinkers means bars and restaurants will need to improve in both providing alcohol-free alternatives and offering a customisable drinks menu.

In London, several bars are leading the charge when it comes to mocktails. Be at One in Clapham has an extensive range of non-alcoholic drinks on its menu, while Nightjar – one of the city’s most popular cocktail bars – creates bespoke non-alcoholic cocktails suited to everyone’s tastes. Dishoom Café is difficult to beat on price, with an extensive mocktail list starting at £2.90, and The Winchester is known for putting equal effort into its non-alcoholic cocktail menu.

Even when it comes to traditional cocktails we can see brand new ‘experience’ style bars opening all the time. Perhaps at ‘peak’ customisation, new venue Genuine Liquorette in London offers customers the opportunity to completely personalise their cocktails. The venue takes inspiration from the New York bar of the same name where customers can buy bottles of spirits or non-alcoholic alternatives and get the bartender to create their desired cocktail to their exact specifications. Bar manager Elliot Davies said: “All cocktail bars should be interactive with the guest. To be a bartender nowadays, it’s not enough just smashing out the best Martini or the best service.

“People are more aware of what’s going on in their drinks nowadays – they’re starting to want to customise them, asking for specific gins in their Negronis for instance. This bar is putting the power back with them, but with our expertise and style, which ensures that we get it right every time.”

So, whether consumers want an alcoholic cocktail or would prefer to abstain, I think the key is for bars to offer experiences that allow them to have their drink, their way. But with the number of young people choosing to abstain in Britain today, it’s fitting that the industry is getting creative with their alcohol-free options and offering bespoke experiences. The power is being handed back to consumers to ensure they get a tailored experience, no matter their tastes or requirements. This means greater choice for everyone, which I’m very excited about.