• The Cabinet

The Cabinet Designer Barman: All a bit mixed up

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

This is the first in our series of posts written by one of our team who lives a double life between working for a drinks branding and innovation agency during the day and behind the bar at night. With a completely open brief to get whatever they want off their chest here is a unique view on what plays on a designer barman’s mind.


Whether it was my best friend and I smashing Bacardi Breezers in Morden or serving a ‘Bundy’ RTD on an island resort in the Whitsundays – Packaged Premixed spirit/mixer have always been part of my life, and I am glad to say I have seen these cheesy alco-pops mature into a permanent fixture into the industry. Previously considered childish or dare I say ‘chavy’, packaged pre-mixes are beginning to be taken seriously with companies big and small joining the party. A recent survey by Celler Trends found that 20% of drinkers buy cocktails in supermarkets and 73% of younger consumers, drinks cocktails at home during special occasions (i.e. birthdays). Some might think of these statistics as scary or systemic of the death of the hospitality industry, but I don’t. I am not fearful of consumers enjoying perfectly mixed Gin & Tonics on the train or sharing a bottle of ‘Old Fashion’ with their friends.

The idea of walking into a pub and being served a premixed Whisky & Coke within seconds shouldn’t worry anybody. Rather, it opens up the opportunity for the bartenders to focus on making better and more complex cocktails, cut down of queuing time and be easier to stock take.

However as always, we need to know the truth from the propaganda. Just because a brand is big enough to buy its way into a supermarket doesn’t make it the best version of the category. Smaller producers and craft cocktail companies should get a fair shake of the stick too.

So, what does the future hold for RTD brands? There is plenty of opportunity for smaller brands to compete on shelf, plus we could also see a plethora of NPD hit the RTD market in the coming years. Will brands begin to mix things up a bit and introduce their products that notoriously sit in the off-trade market, into the on-trade?

Time will tell, but we’re keeping a close eye on brands big and small to see who or what could be ‘the next big thing’….