Oct 3, 2022 - Food and Drink

Twin Cities sees rise in cocktail prices

Illustration of a cocktail glass with a dollar-sign-shaped orange twist

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Diners returning to restaurants are feeling sticker shock as they open cocktail menus filled with $14 to $16 drinks.

Driving the news: Alcoholic beverage prices in the Twin Cities metro were up 6.2% year-over-year in July, according to the most recent consumer price index.

Why it matters: Inflation is already impacting food menus, and cocktail increases make it even more expensive to enjoy a night out.

By the numbers: It wasn’t always like this. In 2017, cocktails at many popular restaurants were around $9, per one roundup by Eater Twin Cities.

  • Now, drinks at some of those establishments range from $11-$15, according to menus posted online.

What we’re hearing: Restaurateurs tell Axios that the hikes reflect the popularity of fancier drinks and rising prices on their end.

  • “If you’re not increasing prices, you’re not going to survive — the margins are too small," said Nick Kosevich, owner of Mr. Paul's Supper Club and beverage director at Boxcar Bar in Malcolm Yards. "It’s unfortunate, but everything is more expensive for us, too."
  • Mr Paul’s has held back on creating more intricate cocktails because the garnishes, like fresh flowers and fruit, are more expensive, he added.

What to watch (when you order): Prices for well drinks, which are traditionally the simpler and cheaper option, are also up, Kosevich and Purpose Driven Restaurants' Brian Ingram both said.

  • But prices for those basic drinks often aren’t listed on menus, which can lead to a surprise when the bill arrives.

Yes, but: There are deals to be found. Hope Breakfast Bar and the Gnome Pub are adding more shareable cocktails, like $40 giant punch bowls that have the equivalent of 10 drinks, Ingram said.

  • His restaurants are also pivoting to well drinks with prices around $6.

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