Draft Beer Is Being Replaced By Cocktails On Tap

The next time you visit to a bar or restaurant and ask what's on tap, you might be surprised. A big shift in the booze world is affecting taplines at bars, restaurants, and even stadiums across the country—beer is being replaced.

According to a new story from The Washington Post, a number of establishments are swapping out draft beer for cocktails on tap. So, you can say "so long" to that Hazy IPA and "hello" to negronis, margaritas, Mai Tais, and other drinks.

Although draft cocktails are pre-made by a bartender or distributor, that doesn't necessarily mean they're lacking in flavor.

“Of course you’re not seeing someone grab a lemon to make your cocktail, but there’s lemon juice or citric acid in there. It’s not the freshest, but the quality can still be there. It still makes a great cocktail,” cocktail educator Tiffanie Barriere shared with The Washington Post.

three modern glasses of negroni cocktail and gin short drink with sweet vermouth, red bitter liqueur and dried orange peel on bar counter
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News of this change comes as kegged beer sales continue to decline. On-tap beer consumption reportedly fell about 5 percent year over year in 2023. Additionally, as tap beer continues to dip, there are now approximately 10,000 draft lines dedicated to non-beer products compared to 1,500 draft lines before the pandemic.

For both customers and bar owners, pre-made cocktails in taplines can be beneficial because they're quicker to make. There's no shaking, muddling, or straining necessary. And so far, most customers seem to be content with the switch.

"Our taps are right out front on display at Dirty Pretty, and we’ve never had a negative customer interaction about finding out a cocktail was on a keg," beverage director Ben Purvis told the Post.

Are you on board with fewer draft beers and more cocktails in taplines?

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