Bars| Beer| Insights

The Most-Ordered Spirits and Beer at Italian Bars and Restaurants

By Reggie Woo

What do people really do when they are in “Rome”?

If you didn’t already know, this week is Negroni Week, a time to celebrate one of the most iconic cocktails in the bartending world. As venues and establishments across the world use this time to help raise money for meaningful causes and stir up their own inspired versions of the Italian cocktail, we here at BevSpot thought that we would celebrate Negroni Week in our own way.

Being obsessed with data and providing helpful insights into beverage programs, we collected and aggregated the ordering data of our users that feature an Italian-themed beverage program. Let’s break it down.

The following material aggregates a year’s worth of ordering data ending in March 2017. All figures represent percentages of orders in dollar terms.


With our initial view into the programs of Italian-themed bars and restaurants, a lot of surprise isn't quite there. Wine easily makes up the majority of orders at 47%. Seen worldwide as a staple of Italian alcoholic beverages, it's almost expected that víno would play a huge part in these programs.


When you compare these numbers to our entire user base, you start to see the more interesting divergences. Wine orders are very nearly doubled in comparison to that of our overall ordering numbers. The fall-away in the orders of spirits and beer is only natural with that immense shift.


Diving into the spirits makeup of Italian programs, we see a harkening to the past. In recent times, we've seen a shift away from vodka towards that of whiskey. However, here, we see vodka still holds sway over the majority of spirits orders.


The aforementioned shift towards the Russian spirit is shown here in comparison to our overall orders. We can also observe a slight shift towards cordials & liqueurs, which points to an expected rise in cocktailing and the drinking of aperitifs.

We also see a significant fallaway in Mexican tequila and mezcal, which is interesting and points to the cultural differences being a factor here.


The trend we start to see in the individual categories is a top-heavy ordering style. The brands that did well overall like Tito's and Ketel One do even better in these establishments, while the brands beyond the top three and top five start to level out amongst themselves.


The same can be shown in the performance of whiskey, as Jameson, Jack Daniel's, and Bulleit all pushed their leads in their overall orders. Fireball and Johnnie Walker also made strides to catch up to Crown Royal.


It's here in the cordials and liqueurs that the trend starts to shift in very curious ways. Brands that did not do well in other establishments break out as new leaders here. The emerging performance of brands like Campari and Luxardo might be expected. However, brands like Bailey's and Dr. McGillicuddy are very interesting to note in this landscape.


The observation of a top-heavy performance in spirits makes a marked return in a big way when looking at tequilas and mezcals. Patrón and Don Julio lead the way even more than usual. We also curiously see a rise in the performance of Lunazul.


The top-heavy performance of brands that we saw in spirits seems to also carry onto the performance of beer brands. Bud Light, the overall leader in our users, stretches even further within Italian restaurants. The other big national brands like MillerCoors and Corona also make significant headways here as well.

Insomma (Conclusion)

When reflecting on the performance of brands in Italian-themed programs, the conclusion we've come to is that, here more-so than other places, a value on tradition and history can be felt. The brands that held more sway in the past perform better here.

Alternatively, you could come to the conclusion that Italian establishments are slow to adapt to change when it comes to spirits and beer. This could also point to a greater sense of safety in these brands within the clientele of these establishments. Not many people would walk into an Italian-style bar to pick up an up-and-coming local craft beer. If they were going to reach for a beer and not a glass of pinot noir, it's much easier to go for what you know will work for you. The expectations of clientele undoubtably plays a part here.

Did you notice anything here that we didn't or have any of your own personal commentary on the data here? Let us know in the comments section below.

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