The Return of Celebration
The holiday season is crucial to the bar and hospitality industry. That’s nothing new, of course, but this year the stakes are undeniably higher. As we enter the holiday season and book office parties and custom events, experiences and packages, many operators are betting big on pent-up demand and insight-led ideas to add sparkle and revenue to their plans.
At Molson Coors, brand teams are supporting operators with a mix of tried-and-true and forward-thinking ideas and resources to help optimize bar revenue and enhance customer experience led by awareness of the high hopes and higher stakes for Canadian operators as we head into the new year. “This will truly be the first time that consumers can spend time with each other and connect without the same looming threat of COVID-19—last year, there was still a lot of hesitation, and you didn’t’ see big gatherings,” says Sasha Romano Lopez, Sr. Marketing Manager at Heineken™. The holidays this year are going to feel more like “normal”. We anticipate consumers will trade up for these corporate parties or at home holiday get-togethers and be willing to dig deeper into their pockets. In 2023, consumers will be continuing to look for those memorable, elevated experiences. They may not be going out a lot, but when they are going out, they are doing it well.”
This year, Molson Coors expects customers to seek out familiar flavours and brands while pursuing enriched experiences in the on-premise. “Heineken has always been synonymous with the holidays,” Sasha shares. “We have still been able to bring to life some amazing holiday activations despite COVID-19, whether it be our beautiful displays and programming in stores, with our OP partners, or in the heart of the city at YDS with our “Cheers to Your Holiday Tradition” activation. This year, we are going back to our roots of “owning the holidays”, where you can expect to see the brand to come to life even bigger and better through our customers at retail, and in the on premise, and through our new national media campaign “The Closer”, which encourages consumers to #workresponsibly, shutting down the work grind and reconnecting with friends, family and co-workers over a Heineken or Heineken 0.0.”
Molson Coors is a sector leader in beverage innovation tied to holistic market insights and the consumption trends and habits of emerging demographics, acknowledging that 19-24 year-olds are the fastest-growing consumer base for low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. Paired with the universal trend toward premiumization in both consumable and experiential restaurant offerings, Molson Coors is supporting on-premise partners with both new, market-driven products like Heineken 0.0 and thoughtful activations and promotions that keep customers on site and engaged with restaurant partners.
Self-taught and globally-awarded mixologist Patrice Plante works with Molson Coors on beverage ideation, and he confirms the trend toward low and no-alcohol options within the cocktail world. “I think the non-alcoholic trend will soar again, and again and again until it is fully integrated within our restaurant and social encounter culture. With non-alcoholic drinks becoming more complex and interesting—even for people that still love alcohol—it would be a wise move for Canadian bars to be at the forefront of this trend and develop entire menus of low/no alc options.”
Patrice’s bar craft is creative, intelligent, and story-driven. In spite of winning regional and national mixology competition titles including Quebec’s Bartender of the Year (Lauriers de la gastronomie) in 2018 and Best Cocktail Book in the World (International Gourmand Awards), he is fuelled by passion, not pretention. “I am passionate about democratizing the cocktail and mocktail making at home,” he says. Over the years Patrice has conquered his naturally shy personality, authoring five popular mixology books (all best sellers in Quebec) and starting several entrepreneurial ventures and, now 41, Patrice is father to three young “princesses” and lives on the island of Orleans in Quebec City. “In 2015, I founded Monsieur Cocktail, a company specializing in a never-before-seen line of craft syrup that simplifies the art of making pro and delicious drinks at home. And this year, I launched NOA, a new line of non-alcoholic spirits and liqueurs that uses juices and maple syrup in order to deliver the same powerful taste as their alcoholic counterpart to promote a more healthy and balanced lifestyle.”
“The other trend I see coming is beer cocktails,” Patrice shares. “A lot have been made in the past, but with mixology more popular than ever, I think a new category of drinks is on the horizon—the mix of light beer with bitter aperitivo and citrus, to complement the complexity of the cereals and transform this into an Apero experience where the alcohol percentage is very low and the taste is familiar, refreshing and bitter.”
Patrice’s bar craft is creative, intelligent, and story-driven.
Always looking at new and interesting ways to enhance a moment or tell a story through ingredient selection, process and experience, Patrice is looking forward to the holidays and new year with a mindfulness and clarity of purpose, doubling down on the importance of hospitality and creating powerful moments. “I mean, this is the first time in two years the majority of us will be able to finally reunite with friends and family. Yes, 2023 will be a tough year for sure, but this holiday season is a time to remember that the magic created by a cocktail or a night celebrating in a restaurant or a bar, will never, ever change—this unique ability to connect, to share a moment with people we love.”
Celebrate with Lower-Cost Cocktails
It’s no secret that 2023 will bring fresh challenges. To help support bottom-line realities as we head into the new year, Patrice Plante of Monsieur Cocktail has partnered with Molson Coors to offer three lower-cost cocktail recipes to create magic and build margins in bars across Canada.
> 1 can of Coors Light beer
> 1 oz of bitter aperitivo (like Campari)
> 0.5 oz of strawberry syrup
> Lime wedge (to garnish)
1. Simply add the aperitivo and the syrup to your cold beer for a bitter and fruity perfect appetizer.
2. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Sunny Afternoon in Milan
> 6 oz of Vizzy passionfruit or raspberry lemonade
> 1.5 oz of non-alcoholic Amaretto NOA
> 0.75 oz of pure cranberry juice
> Lemon wheel (to garnish)
1. In a glass filled with ice, add the amaretto and the cranberry juice and stir until your fingers are cold.
2. Add the Vizzy.
3. Garnish with a lemon wheel and olive.
Tête de mule
> 6 oz of Vizzy raspberry lemonade or Heineken 0.0
> 1 oz of Monsieur Cocktail’s ginger syrup
> Mint (to garnish)
1. In a glass filled with ice, stir the syrup until fingers are cold.
2. Add the hard seltzer or beer.
3. Garnish with fresh mint.