Hot Shots

Three in 10 consumers age 23-34 are ordering more shots in on-premise venues now than they did two years ago. These consumers also spend more on straight spirits, including shots, per occasion in restaurants or bars, according to the Technomic BarTAB Report.

Consumers report that the majority of their shot occasions – seven out of 10 – occur in bars, while casual-dining restaurants garner two in 10 shot occasions.  But that may begin to shift as some casual-dining operators are adding new shot offerings to their drink menus. The incidence of shot/shooter drinks on leading restaurant menus rose 8.6% in the past year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor database, with entries ranging from traditional favorites to specialties that often involve layered flavors. Popular alcohol component brands in casual-dining shot offerings are Fireball Cinnamon Whisky, Jägermeister and Guinness, and Red Bull is a frequent mixer.

Shots may provide an opportunity for casual-dining operators to grow drink sales, especially when positioned around attributes other than alcohol delivery. Similar to mini desserts, shots can challenge drink pros to flex their mixology muscles and pair popular or emerging spirits and mixer ingredients to deliver a pop of flavor, even introducing the patron to a new product in the process. A unique presentation, perhaps involving an unexpected garnish, and an attractive price point add to the appeal.

Fox & Hound Sports Tavern offers the Breakfast Shot: Jameson Irish Whiskey, Dekuyper Buttershots, Rumchata, orange juice, and a slice of bacon. Others menu shots as an add-on to popular drinks. At Bennigan’s, the Irish Beer Bomb (Baileys and Jameson) accompanies a half pint of Guinness. As younger consumers seek out wallet-friendly, flavorful drink options, shots may fit the bill in some casual-dining concepts. 

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