Here's Why the Negroni Should be the Favorite Drink on Your Menu

The Negroni is having its 102nd birthday this week. (In case you missed it, it’s also Negroni Week.)

We previously reported that bitter cocktails are particularly popular with younger guests. In fact, those 34 years old and younger are twice as likely to enjoy a bitter drink than those aged 35 years and older. The Negroni, with its meteoric resurgence in popularity, fulfills the desire for a bitter beverage.

Nielsen has stated that the popularity of bitter cocktails can be traced to distillers producing amaros and younger consumers interested in premium brands and elevated on-premise experiences. Once again, the Negroni is delivering what consumers are seeking.

Of course, the Negroni isn’t just delivering on guest desires and expectations. The centenarian sip is also delivering for bars and restaurants. It’s not magic, it’s math: Wildly popular drink + guests seeking popular said drink = revenue. Some bartenders may roll their eyes at making their billionth Negroni but, to riff on a popular industry saying, “Popular drinks pay the bills.”

RELATED: Negroni Week: Cocktails & Community

Bars and restaurants need Negronis on their beverage menus. In markets that permit happy hour, operators should showcase the classic and any variants their bar team serves. Competition for guests—particularly valuable repeat guests—shows no signs of cooling. Delivery, in part, has slowed traffic for some bars and restaurants, driven in large part by the same age group that desires bitter beverages: 81 percent of those age 21 to 34 order food delivery at least once per month.

Letting repeat and potential guests know that your bar team is adept at making Negronis and your venue features Negronis for happy hour can drive much needed traffic through your doors. And according to Nielsen, happy hour and early evening are valuable dayparts during which the Negroni is a high performer. Matthew Crompton, client solutions director at Nielsen CGA, says that checks during happy hour and early evening tend to be $22 more than during the mid-afternoon daypart.

RELATED: The Negroni: A Family Affair

There are many other reasons that operators should actively seek to capture Negroni drinkers. Nielsen CGA OPUS data reveals that guests who drink Negronis earn more, spend $237 on on-premise visits each month ($117 more than the average American consumer), and drink and eat out more. That’s essentially the Holy Grail of guests: they have disposable income, they want to spend it, and they spend it more often than other guests each month. Capture them and you’ll see increased profits.

The Negroni Drinker by the Nielsen Numbers

  • 36 percent of Negroni drinkers are 25-34 years old versus 18 percent total United States
  • Negroni drinkers are social and more active on-premise than the average U.S. consumer:
    • 52 percent drink weekly vs. 25 percent of total U.S. consumers
    • 87 percent eat out weekly vs. 68 percent of total U.S. consumers
  • Negroni drinks earn $20,000 more than the average U.S. consumer, earning incomes of $85,000
  • 68 percent of Negroni drinkers cite catching up with friends for their drink occasion vs. 42 percent of total U.S.
  • 66 percent cite going out for a drink to celebrate as their drink occasion vs. 40 percent of total U.S.
  • 76 percent of Negroni drinkers go for a meal with friends vs. 56 percent of the average U.S. consumer
  • 48 percent of Negroni drinkers have visited a fine dining establishment in the last three months vs. 21 percent of the average U.S. consumer
  • 54 percent of Negroni drinkers have visited a neighborhood bar in the last 3 months vs. 26 percent of the average U.S. consumer
  • 53 percent of Negroni drinkers consume Margaritas when not drinking Negronis 
  • Negroni drinkers’ cocktail decisions are driven by the quality of spirit brands available (47 percent) and the type of venue they are visiting (45 percent) vs. 24 percent and 36 percent of the average U.S. consumer, respectively
  • Price expectations for Negroni drinkers are, on average, $10.66 for a standard cocktail and $12.28 for a cocktail made with premium spirits

The numbers don’t like—the Negroni drinker is crucial to bar and restaurant revenue. It’s time to review the gins and vermouths in your inventory, break out the Campari, and make some money. To learn more about Negroni Week, check out their website here.

This article was originally published in June 2019, and was updated on September 13, 2021.

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