What's in Store for Beverages in 2017?

Image source: AF&Co.

Sake, natural wine, rosé, switchel, and sour beers are only a few of the beverages on the edge of breaking out in 2017, according to a leading annual trend report.

The report from restaurant marketer and consultant Andrew Freeman’s firm AF&Co. is wide ranging and upbeat, focusing on all aspects of the on-premise world. His take on beverages, like the rest of the report, is derived from client interactions, research, and a list of “trendologists.”This year, those trendologists include David Miller, President and COO of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, and Carolyn Wente, fourth generation winegrower and CEO, Wente Vineyards.

Among the other trends the report anticipates, it advises to keep our eyes out for Flanders Red, Berliner Weisse, Gose, and other types of sour brews “that are taking the beer scene by storm.” Sour beers have yet to emerge beyond brewpubs and a select few beer-intensive operations but 10 years ago, neither had IPAs.

Freeman also suggests switchel, a slightly vinegary drink typically seasoned with ginger and sweetened with molasses, honey or maple syrup, could be the next kombucha. A staple thirst-quencher amongst farmers for hundreds of years, the tart and tangy switchel is gaining popularity as a healthy sports drink alternative.

And rosé’s year-round growth has finally paid off. ”Rosé is no longer just a Spring/Summer offering, it is being featured throughout the year as a sound wine for food pairing,” according to Carolyn Wente. Rosé showed double-digit growth last year, and she thinks this is a wine with the legs to continue moving forward.

Operations offering wine flights, a 2000s trend that has lagged lately, fit perfectly for those afraid to commit, says the report. “Focused wine flights are the way go. Typically offered in 2-oz pours of three different wines, the amount of wine is perfect for supplementing a meal or catching up with a friend. One glass usually isn’t enough, two glasses is sometimes too much… a wine flight is just right.”

Finally, Freeman & Co. see more draft coffee in the on-premise future, including lattes, almond milk lattes, and nitro coffee. He also gave a nod to the growth of on-premise wine on tap as part of the view that new packaging, like cans, will break down presumptions about how wine is best delivered to the table. “Kegs were predicted to be the wave of the future for serving wine in restaurants, but adoption has been slow due to cost of installation and infrastructure for delivery with wholesalers. New distribution methods are afoot, so kegs may begin to gain traction with independent restaurants and chains.”

Canned wine, cocktail consultants, a return to simpler classic cocktails with a contemporary twist, and sake bars also made the list of beverage trends to watch out for in 2017. For a full copy of the report, click here

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