Shaken or Stirred? Comax Flavors Releases Alcohol Consumer Study


Partnering with Amy Marks-McGee of Trendincite LLC and Costello Creative Group, Comax Flavors has released its latest primary study on the behaviors of alcohol consumers.

Per the study, the company surveyed 1,200 U.S. consumers, half female and half male, in February 2018 for their spirit preferences. The study reported consumer preferences on whiskey, vodka, rum, gin tequila, schnapps, cream liqueur and crème liqueur. 

Taste is Number One With Whiskey

  • Of the 627 respondents that consume whiskey, 38% prefer bourbon and 20% prefer scotch.
  • Of whiskey drinkers, 78% cite taste as the most important reason for a purchase.
  • In the flavored whiskey segment, 13% of respondents drink honey-flavored whiskey, with Gen Xers at a higher 21% and the Silent Generation only at 2%.
  • For consumers that prefer a mixed beverage, 74% of the respondents mix with soda and 29% mix with water. Additionally, 46% prefer whiskey on the rocks.

Vodka Flavors Get Fruity

  • After price, taste was the second most important attribute to purchase a vodka.
  • Of the respondents, 23% prefer citrus vodkas, while 12% drink berry or strawberry flavors.
  • Younger generations are more likely to try fruity vodka flavors. Of the 15% that responded to drinking fruit flavors, Gen Zers were the highest rate with 47% and Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation were the lowest with 6% and 5%, respectively.

Rum Remains Spicy

  • Taste is the number one driver for rum flavors with 76% of the respondents citing it.
  • The number one flavor is spiced with 43% responding to it, while original or plain is second with 38%.
  • Younger generations prefer plain or original flavors with Gen Yers at 45% and Gen Zers at 43%, opposed to older generations with Generation X at 38%, the Silent Generation at 35% and Baby Boomers at 33%.
  • Of the people surveyed, 80% prefer rum mixed with another beverage. Two of the top mixers are soda with 82% and juice at 50%.

Dry or Extra Dry Gin?

  • Taste was the number one driver for 75% of gin consumers.
  • Of the people surveyed, 53% of all generations consume plain or original gin, while 32% of respondents prefer dry gin and 27% extra dry.
  • In terms of flavored gin, peach was the most popular at 23%, followed by lime at 22% and apple at 19%.

Tequila Tastes

  • According to 74% of the respondents, the most important attribute for tequila is taste.
  • The top three flavors for all generations include silver at 39%, plain or original at 38% and gold at 37%.
  • Of the respondents, 26% prefer fruit flavored tequila, with the largest drinking generation being Gen Zers at 45%, followed by Gen Yers at 28%.

Liqueur/Cordial/Schnapps Stay Sharp

  • For the liqueur/cordial/schnapps category, taste was the number one driver with 73% of respondents citing it as the most important.
  • The most popular flavor are fruit flavors with 64% of respondents citing them. Of the popular fruit flavors, citrus was the most popular with 37% of respondents, while 36% prefer berry flavors and vanilla flavors.

Coffee Flavors in Cream Liqueur

  • A product's taste was the number one reason for a cream liquor purchase according to 67% of the respondents.
  • Of the respondents, 52% prefer Irish flavors. Additionally, 49% of consumers drank coffee, while 46% drank coffee flavors and 43% of the respondents drank chocolate cream liqueur.  

Crème Liqueur on the Rocks or Straight

  • The number one drive for a purchase is taste according to 70% of all respondents.
  • According to the study, 56% prefer crème liqueur on the rocks and half prefer it straight;
  • 44% of respondents prefer coffee flavors and one-third prefer raspberry flavors; and
  • 30% of the people surveyed drink either almond, banana, coconut, dark chocolate, mint or white chocolate flavors.  

Mixing Your Own at Flavorcon

The topic of popular alcoholic beverages and flavors will be a focal point at the 2018 Flavorcon. From beers to spirits, speakers will discuss how to create effective alcohol flavors in the following presentations:

  • Craft Beer Flavor Infusion: Shane McDonald, principal flavor chemist for Kalsec, will discuss creating craft beer flavors for beverages and other product categories.
  • The Formation of Flavor in WhiskyEwan Morgan, national director, Diageo Reserve Program, will give a technical primer on whisky flavors and processes. 
  • Perspectives from an Indie DistilleryColin Spoelman, co-founder and head distiller of Kings County Distillery, will present his unique perspective on whisky flavors and how indie distillers are innovating the space. 
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