Holiday Increase Driven By the Margarita, America’s Favorite Cocktail

WASHINGTON — The Distilled Spirits Council reported today that on-premise Tequila sales more than doubled on Cinco de Mayo, according to new data of restaurants and bar sales in 2011 and 2012.

In fact, Tequila accounted for eight percent of total spirits sales in bars and restaurants in 2011 and 2012, but that number more than doubled on Cinco de Mayo to nearly 18 percent, based on new GuestMetrics LLC on-premise reports for the Council.  Similarly, while the Margarita accounted for 27 percent of total cocktail sales during 2011 and 2012, it accounted for 42 percent of cocktail sales on the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

“Whether frozen, on the rocks, or in flavored versions, the Margarita continues to be America’s favorite cocktail year-round,” said Distilled Spirits Council Director of Public Relations Alexandra Sklansky.  “Interestingly, while 30 percent of Margaritas sold in restaurants and bars throughout the year are flavored, consumers tend to celebrate with the traditional lemon/lime Margarita on Cinco de Mayo.”

Tequila remains one of the fastest growing spirits categories in the United States, according to total Tequila sales from the Distilled Spirits Council.  Since 2002, Tequila volume has grown by 72 percent, an average rate of 5.5 percent per year, with 12.3 million cases of Tequila sold last year (see “Tequila By The Numbers” infographic for a full snapshot on the category).

“Consumer interest is being driven by the continued popularity of tequila cocktails as well as by the expansion of Super Premium 100 percent tequilas available in the marketplace,” said Sklansky, noting that Super Premium tequila volumes grew nine percent in 2012, up 430% since 2002.

The analysis of on-premise has been provide through a partnership between the Distilled Spirits Council  and GuestMetrics LLC, which collects raw transaction data from thousands of restaurants and bars across the country, from the independent owned to the large national chains.

“Cinco de Mayo experienced a 57 percent lift in total spirits and cocktails sales last year compared to 2011, which could be attributed to the holiday falling on a Saturday versus a Thursday,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics.  “However, a comparison of total spirits and cocktails sales for the entire week of Cinco De Mayo in 2012 and 2011 shows a robust six percent growth.  This confirms the importance of this holiday for the Tequila category as well as for the on-premise sector of the hospitality industry.”

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