Cheers to That: The Beverage Trends Shaping the Dining Scene

Cheers to That: The Beverage Trends Shaping the Dining Scene

Richard Bantock 18th September 2018

No one can predict the future but monitoring the development of innovations in the beverage industry is the best way to see what may become a significant trend over the next few years.

Consumers continue to push innovation as bar and restaurant owners alike try to experiment with what may catch on, looking for the next mega-trend before it takes hold.

More than ever before, the globalisation of the world means that beverage trends are able to hop across the globe almost overnight. No longer are beverages or cocktail trends limited to a single location and, depending on how you think about it, this can be incredibly overwhelming or wonderfully liberating.

After all, diners and drinkers tend to have a higher standard that they hold drinks to; but they are also more open to creativity, which gives operators greater flexibility and freedom to experiment.

Overall, today’s dining scene is dominated by bars and restaurants that embrace authenticity, are engaged on social media, and preach provenance.

Three beverage trends shaping the dining scene:

1. Cocktails with kitchen byproducts

In 2018, everyone is looking to try, taste, and photograph the next big thing. And creations that are wacky or beautiful enough to warrant a space on an Instagram profile tend to go viral. For this reason, it seems the creativity that is shown in the beverage industry becomes more and more apparent.

In addition to creativity, patrons are also much more conscious about creating less waste. The Global movement to use less plastic, purchase recyclables and consume sustainably sourced ingredients are now guiding principles for many consumers.

The result of these two cultural shifts is that restaurants are starting to reuse products and try to generate less waste. For alcoholic beverages, this means adding items such as vegetable trimmings or leftover fruit from garnishes.

As part of your restaurant’s mission, you should seek to educate your consumers on where each element of your cocktails come from. This should entertain your guest and highlight how serious you are about looking after the planet.

Prove to your patrons that you are not just looking to create the next big Instagram trend, but that you are also dedicated to sustainability.

2. Drinks with healthy benefits

There is no denying that in many ways, diners and drinkers – and consumers as a whole – are now a lot more focused on what they are putting in their bodies. In major cities around the world, restaurants that serve vegan and gluten-free dishes are no longer an uncommon occurrence. But it is only recently that this health-obsessed mentality has started slipping over into the drinks world.

Recent it may be, but there is not doubt that people’s health & wellness regimens and lifestyle choices are now coming over into the cocktail world. And they want some health benefits with their drinks.

This means that your drinks menu might need to include low-calorie options, such as low-cal sparkling wine and beer, or cocktails made from spirits & mixers that pack a less calorific punch.

You may also want to stock a fridge with flavored sparkling waters such or low-sugared mixers. Stateside, this might be La Croix; Ugly Drinks would be a great option over here. Sake provides another ‘healthier’ option and is being adopted beyond Japanese restaurants now.

Make sure that you are noting on the drinks menu which are the ‘low-cal’ options, and keep your bartenders are up-to-date with the health & wellness options you serve.

3. Unique and exciting liquors

Fusion cuisine has been a massive dining trend for the past few years, and it shows no signs of slowing down, as diners continue to demand new variations on the dishes they know and love and to bring their travels home with them.

It makes sense then that liquors from further afield are also becoming a point of interest, especially the more ambitious early adopters.

Japanese gin is gaining fame around the world. Everyone knows Gin, but now they can step into flavours that are uniquely Japanese, such as yuzu, sansho pepper, Sakura and cherry blossoms.

Mezcal, Tequila’s smoky cousin, is also becoming more and more popular in cocktails. Many diners like to sip it straight (with a slice of fresh orange or lime), but popular mezcal cocktails are becoming more widespread now too, like Ahumado Seco, Calebassito Cocktail (direct from Mexico City), El Camino, Scorpion Reef and the Oaxacan Old Fashioned.

The reason these intoxicating liquors are becoming more and more popular is that they allow patrons to sip a little taste of culture. And that is a beverage trend that is here to stay.

Cheers to that!

This is a guest post, written by Richard Bantock.

Richard is the President of Liquor License Consultants, Inc. (formerly known as The Liquor License Guy) which specializes in the purchasing and selling of Florida liquor licenses.