Are your drinks of choice seasonal? How late is too late to have a gin and tonic? Would you be caught sipping a pumpkin latte in February?
If you’re like most people, you just order what you feel like when you feel like it. But even if you’re not keenly aware of what you’re ordering and when, the people who serve you – the ones who make the purchasing decisions– definitely are. People in the beverage industry are always paying careful attention to what patrons are ordering, and the savviest of them have been using that information to plan their offerings for 2020.
So what looks like it’s going to be popular at your favorite watering holes and cafes in 2020? Based on the healthier and more socially-conscious drinks that were trending in 2019, here’s what we predict:
Lower alcohol and alcohol-free beverages are leading the pack among an emerging, health-conscious group of social drinkers. Favorites for this group include:
Kombucha: Once only available on the most progressive beverage menus, this fermented tea drink can now be found all over town. Owing to its alleged health benefits and low alcohol content, kombucha is now a mainstream offering that’s expected to become even more popular in 2020, including versions that contain higher alcoholic content.
Hard Seltzer. Sometimes called “spiked seltzer,” hard seltzer is a carbonated alcoholic beverage whose brands include Truly, White Claw, Polar, and Bon & Viv among a huge host of others. They are lower in calories and carbs than some other alcoholic beverages, although they are typically fermented with sugar instead of malted barley.
Zero-Proof Cocktails. As more and more people embrace alcohol-free lifestyles, it makes sense that a more robust line-up of “zero proof” libations would emerge. Chefs and mixologists have come up with zero proof alternatives to traditional highballs including the Cosmopolitan Charade, Toasted Almond Cordial, Raspberry Razzletini, and Strawberry White “Sangria.”
Mini-signature Cocktails: Traditional cocktails are sticking around, but they are being reimagined in smaller versions with artistic presentations. Miniature cocktails allow drinkers who wish to enjoy traditional drinks in “flights”, similar to craft beers without indulging in too much alcohol, calories, or carbs.
Sustainable, eco-friendly drinks for the environmentally informed drinker include locally-crafted drinks with local ingredients such as:
Craft Beers and Local Wines: Local breweries and wineries have unique appeal to those who wish to enjoy homegrown, handcrafted products.
Regional Liquor and Handcrafted Cocktails: Interest in locally produced, small-batch spirits that use locally grown botanical extracts instead of simple syrups and mass-produced bitters is increasing as well.
CBD drinks are a new fad in the food industry. CBD is the non-psychoactive molecule extracted from the leaves, resins, and flowers of cannabis, or marijuana, plants now being infused into everything from kombucha to cold brew, non-alcoholic wine to filtered water. Expect this trend to grow in 2020.
The alcoholic beverage industry has never been stagnant. Drinking patterns and preferences change frequently, and the most successful vendors and mixologists will stay on the cusp of those!