• Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

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UK Cocktail Market (Facts & Figures)-Starting a Business in the Cocktail Market

The UK cocktail market is said to be worth £1.9 billion, with 4.3% growth in 2017 (CGA). The average price of a cocktail in the UK is £7.21 and there are an estimated 5,000 bars across the country (Statista, 2018). There are 1,700 bars  in London alone. (IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, 2016)

 What the experts say   

“The cocktail market is growing in both value and volume. In 2016, it was worth £1.8bn, up from £1.6bn in 2015. This growth is driven by premiumisation, with consumers trading up to better quality and more premium brands.” – CGA Strategy, Market Insights: The Cocktail Revolution, 2017

“The UK’s cocktail culture has changed beyond recognition in the last decade. Ten years ago, a ‘cocktail’ was likely to mean a sickly-sweet Sex on the Beach or a Blue Lagoon; now it means much more interesting drinks made with high-quality spirits, fresh fruits and herbs.” – IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, The Cocktail Report 2017

“Cocktails are no longer the preserve of the rich and famous; they have become democratised and are now enjoyed by people from all walks of life. This is partly due to the rise of social media, which has helped bartenders to share their creations with a wider audience.” – The Economist, How the cocktail became middle class, 2017

“The UK is now one of the most dynamic cocktail nations in the world. London, in particular, has become a hotbed of creativity, with new bars opening on an almost monthly basis.” – Difford’s Guide, 2018

 How you can plan a business around it? 

If you’re thinking of starting a business in the cocktail market, there are a few things you should consider:

  • The type of cocktails you want to sell. Are you going to focus on classic drinks or create your unique recipes?

  • The price point of your cocktails. Will you be targeting budget drinkers or those willing to spend more for a premium experience?

  • The location of your bar. In a busy city centre or a quieter residential area?

  • The decoration and atmosphere of your bar. This is important in creating a specific vibe and attracting certain types of customers.

Once you’ve decided on these key factors, you can start to plan your business in more detail. For example, you’ll need to obtain a personal licence if you want to sell alcohol in the UK. If you’re based in Scotland, you’ll need to apply for a Scottish personal licence.

You’ll also need to think about the practicalities of running a bar, such as stocking supplies, hiring staff and managing finances. But if you’re passionate about cocktails and have a good business plan, there’s no reason your business can’t be a success.

 Do i need any legal document to start? 

Yes, you will need to obtain a personal licence if you want to sell alcohol in the UK. If you’re based in Scotland, you’ll need to apply for a Scottish personal licence.

 How much money do i need?  

This will depend on many factors, such as the location of your bar, the type of cocktails you plan to sell and the decoration and atmosphere of your bar. But as a general guide, you should expect to spend at least £5,000 as start-up costs.

 I don’t have any experience in bartending, can I still start this business?  

Yes, you can still start a business in the cocktail market even if you don’t have any experience in bartending. However, you will need to hire experienced bartenders to work in your bar.

 What are some of the challenges I might face? 

There are a few challenges that you might face when starting a business in the cocktail market:

  • Finding experienced bartenders to staff your bar

  • Stocking supplies and keeping track of inventory

  • Managing finances and stay within budget

  • Creating a unique selling point for your business

  • Standing out from the competition

 SWOT Analysis 


  • Personal Licence

  • Scottish personal licence


  • Inexperience in bartending

  • Need to hire experienced bartenders

  • Stocking supplies and keeping track of inventory


  • New bars opening up monthly basis

  • Variety of cocktails that can be created

  • Opportunity to create own unique recipes

  • Target different types of customers depending on decoration and atmosphere


  • Other established businesses in the area

 Terminology used in the article 

Personal Licence –  

allows an individual to sell or supply alcohol, or to allow alcohol to be consumed on their premises. If you want to sell alcohol in the UK, you must have a personal licence.

The Personal Licence is granted by the local licensing board in the area where you live and work.

Scottish Personal Licence –  

A Scottish Personal Licence allows you to sell or supply alcohol, or authorise its sale or supply, in premises licensed under the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005. The Act requires that anyone who sells or supplies alcohol, or authorises its sale or supply, must hold a Personal Licence.

You must be 18 years or over to apply for a Personal Licence. There is no upper age limit. You will need to have successfully completed an accredited Personal Licence Qualification (SCPLH) before you can apply for a Personal licence.

You can apply for your Personal Licence online or by post from the Scottish Government website. The cost of applying for a SCPLH Scottish certificate is £109.99.

When you have been granted your Personal Licence, you must notify the licensing board of any changes to your name or address within 28 days.

Bartending –  

The process of making and serving drinks, typically alcoholic drinks, behind a bar.

Cocktail –  

An alcoholic drink made by mixing two or more different types of liquor, such as gin, vodka and whiskey.

 Unique selling point (USP) –  

A feature that makes your business unique and different from your competitors. It’s what sets you apart from the rest.

Competition –  

other businesses offering similar products or services in the same market.