Drinks trends never stand still and innovation seems to continue apace. Sheniz Ozdemir looks ahead to trends that are set to capture the attention next year.
Brace yourselves for the launch of hard water – yes, alcoholic H20. Mike’s Hard Sparkling Water is due to hit UK shelves this winter – the alcoholic sparkling water with 5% abv is 99 calories per 33cl can. A big hit in the US, it’s been described as ‘the drink of the summer’. The new launch aims to target the growing RTD market. And that brings us onto…
It’s all about the packaging
We’re a generation which has built our everyday lives around convenience and we’re seeing this reflected in the food and drink industry. If it makes it faster, easier and saves us time – for sure it will capture our attention. Classic cocktails such as Aperol Spritz or Pink G&Ts with a slight twist are making their way into cans to tap into the premium and convenience sector. It means consumers can enjoy a well-crafted, premium serve without the hassle of constructing it themselves.
Think even more pink
It’s everywhere from gin, to vodka to wine. We cannot avoid it even if we wanted to and it’s not just a summer craze either. Gordon’s Gin launched its Pink edition with raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant notes, breaking the million-case barrier in less than two years, according to IWSR figures. Even non-gin brands such as Kopparberg have ventured into the spirits market to tap into this burgeoning category trend. We’re now seeing more and more cross-category launches across brands in the hope of recruiting a new wave of consumers, injecting new colours and flavours.
Low and no
Not to be ignored, the overwhelming demand for low and no alcohol alternatives continues to be a big disruptor in the drinks industry. The new ‘wellness generation’ is more about big flavours rather than ABVs. Non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand Seedlip recently launched a bottled, alcohol-free version of a Negroni – the ‘Nogroni’ – to coincide with the cocktail’s 100th anniversary year.
Waitrose’s latest food and drink trends report claims health conscious consumers now think more about “whether they want to sip on something bitter, sweet, long or cold, rather than whether it’s alcohol based”. We’ve also seen a surge in new non-alcoholic mixers partnering with spirit brands to create simple, yet classic RTD style drinks.
Simplicity is key
Sometimes things just need to be simple and bartenders are beginning to introduce fewer ingredients but upping the quality and provenance. Earlier this year, Artesian at The Langham Hotel in London launched a new menu showcasing cocktails made from just two ingredients – these consisted of a “carefully selected spirit”, and one flavour designed to let the key characteristics shine through. We predict this trend will gain more traction next year.
Keep it local
Bartenders are continuing to push the boundaries when it comes to flavour, with serve and ingredients a core component to that. Foraging ingredients from local areas can reflect in the flavour of a drink and also creates a talking point with customers. Ketel One Vodka recently launched its One Square Mile initiative, challenging bartenders to create a sustainable cocktail menu using ingredients sourced within one mile of their venue. The brand aimed to celebrate local communities and champion the ingredients, flavours and people. Nine Lives, local to the Fleet Street offices, featured a Bermondsey Bees Knees cocktail created in collaboration with local beekeepers and made with produce from local farmers.