An interesting change is occurring in the beverage retail sector, with retail branding moving from a ‘one size fits all’ to a more niche approach. Customers are responding well to the reinvention of the speakeasy bar. Whilst alcohol sales are no longer illegal in the majority of the world, patrons are appreciating the exclusivity and mystique surrounding these new drinking spots. We take a look at bars following this trend in two major economic hubs – New York and London – though it’s just a matter of time before the concept is in full swing in Australian cities.

With the speakeasy originating the in American Prohibition years, it makes sense that New York bars have continued this tradition. One example of this is Angel’s Share, a bar that you may have to ask directions for as it’s hidden through a Japanese restaurant, serving drinks to only those in the know.

Across the pond in London, the same owners run Milk & Honey – considered by some as the originator of the trend in the British capital, having been going strong for over a decade.

The Australian pub, bar and nightclub market has continued to grow. A June 2014 report from IBISWorld revealed annual growth over the past five years has been 2.2 per cent and revenue has topped $16 billion. As the economy continues to grow this year, this growth is estimated to be slightly higher, at 2.7 per cent. However, providing unique branding for an operation – such as the concept of the speakeasy – will continue to be an important driver in overall popularity and success.

According to a recent statement released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), drinking habits may be changing throughout the country – with the consumption of traditional alcoholic beverages such as wine and beer decreasing, as “consumption of spirits has remained relatively steady”. The comments made by ABS Director of Health Louise Gates, may suggest that the public are becoming more particular in their alcohol tastes, leading the way for bars with more diverse offerings to consolidate their status as key players in this area of the retail market.