What’s Hot In Craft Beverage

June had me returning to the Texas Restaurant Association’s annual TRA Marketplace show. It’s the 2nd biggest restaurant association show in the country – and well worth going for restaurant pros in Texas and in other areas.

Education is always worth while. You’ve got to invest in yourself within your industry and chosen communities to best serve yourself and your clients.

This year I presented three different sessions, 2 of which were What’s Hot in Craft Beverage.

Some of my fine colleagues in the Craft Beverage Garden, TRA 2016

Some of my fine colleagues in the Craft Beverage Garden, TRA 2016

For the What’s Hot sessions I ran through some insight on the various beverage categories, with an emphasis on alcoholic ‘craft.’ While I usually don’t use the word craft in beverage, it can hold some meaning for industry pros.

Here’s some of the insight I shared.

2016 Trends in beverage include: House made (everything), beverage and food pairings, in-house made ice cubes, smoked & grilled, bubbly, tea, creative garnishes and ingredients, tasting menus, fermented drinks (i.e. kombucha).

  • For Beer: count on seeing more of sours, ‘session’ (lower alcohol), canned choices including Crowlers, nitro pushed, and growler stations.
  • In Wine: aging in spirits barrels, alternative packaging choices, red blends, the growth of specific varietals.
  • Spirits will give us: more than 900 (projected) distillers, whiskey, gin, vodka and rum running forward + herbal liqueurs and house made cocktails with fancy ice cubes and lower alcohol choices.
  • Cider: it’s still holding with big growth in the UK that the US, though still moving upwards in the US.
  • Mead: keep enjoying the honey explosion! Small batch honey will feed this tasty beast.
  • Sake: The nightlife scene is seeing more popularity here and the popularity of Japanese foods in North America will fuel this progress.
  • In Alcohol-Free: watch for fancy and artisan ‘craft’ sodas with root beer, ginger beer and orange leading the way, mixers including tonics are growing, and various ‘waters’ are pushing upwards.

So what’s a beverage drinker to do? Enjoy whatever you wish, responsibly. There are choices for us a’plenty, and business a’plenty of the beverage businesses.

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Changing Perception

“If there’s a problem, it’s my job to change the perception.”

These were big words uttered by a long time hospitality pro during a very worthwhile panel at the 2015 TRA Marketplace. She said a mouth-full, for sure.

So how do we 1. know there’s a problem and 2. how do we change perception.

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

2015 TRA Marketplace Panel

In keeping with this being a site on women & beer, I’d relate it to a huge problem being the misnomer that women don’t drink or enjoy beer. While millions understand that’s simply not true, millions and billions more seem to think (actively or passively) that is it true.

So how do we change that perception, knowing there’s a problem.

Wait – first you want to know how I judge there’s a problem? Glad you asked.

Do a quick online search of articles on women and beer, beer labels and sexism in beer and it’ll come at you with lightning speed.

The problem, Houston, is that we’re making much ado about an incorrect and damning stereotype. I can tell you for a fact – women enjoy beer. Women enjoy beer, they enjoy wine, spirits, cider, mead and sake…and everything else out there any one person can enjoy. Like Nancy Nichols, the author of the cited piece above said, “don’t view your sex as a factor.”

There’s a misperception that certain alcoholic beverages hold a lock on a certain gender. It’s a bunch of bladerdash.

Think for yourself and with your own brains and taste buds. If you run into a misperception – when you run into a problem with this thinking – set the record straight.

Ain’t so such thing as a woman’s beer nor a man’s beer. To thine own taste buds be true and we’ll all make progress breaking down the sexism in beer.

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