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.
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.