Ladies and gentlemen, start your ice machines! The predictions for 2014 drink trends are in, and trends are surfacing in on-premise sales, new flavor profiles, and fancy additions to cocktails. Some of the drink trends of 2013 are carrying over into the new year, but many brand new ones are surfacing as well. We’re certain that restaurants’ ice machines will be plenty busy this year as they adjust for the changing beverage scene.
Want to know more? Here are 6 of the top beverage trends to expect in 2014. Ready, set, sip!
1. Premium alcohol beverages are on the rise according to Technomic’s 2013 BarTAB report. Technomic also anticipates continued dollar growth in premium adult beverages during 2014. While conscious of a slow economy, consumers seem to be drinking on-premise less, but spending more—not unlike “the ‘drinking less, but drinking better’ trend of the early 1990s” said Eric Schmidt, Technomic’s director of research. Top contenders to pair your ice machines’ ice with include Irish whiskey, single-malt scotch, and imported vodka.
2. Catering to millennials has become a part of the beverage landscape over the past year, and the trend isn’t going away. In fact, millennials are major factors in the aforementioned growth in premium alcohol beverages. Millennials’ tastes for trends, variety, and a unique flavor palate are all driving sales, so restaurants would do well to pay attention to the beverage preferences of their younger patrons.
3. Spices and unusual infusions in cocktails are part of a trend that is still going strong from 2013, but there are some new flavors that have been added to the menu. Trends like ginger and mint, as well as confectionary-flavors liquors are still in, but new additions include honey and maple in whiskeys, as well as craft distilling from small producers. To capitalize on this trend, shake some drinks over ice from your ice machines that include flavors like lemongrass, tobacco, and cinnamon.
4. Drinks on tap are growing in popularity, with patrons now willing to enjoy on-premise wine or beer as readily as they would a bottled beverage.
5. Cider is cropping up in a variety of variations, so be sure to stock some while you’re contemplating what to keep on tap. Seasonal and specialty ciders in particular are making waves at the moment, with big beer suppliers like MillerCoors, Heineken, and Boston Beer Company hopping on the cider train, as well as competition from small producers.
6. Mixing genres in cocktails, beers, and mixed drinks is a new trend in the beverage world, with hybrid combinations surfacing in everything from alcoholic milkshakes to shandys.
What’s on Your 2014 Drinks Menu?
How are you planning to use your restaurant equipment and ice machines in 2014? Will ice machines, unusual flavors, or specialty beverages play a role in your drinks menu this year? Tweet @shortorder on Twitter or write on our Facebook timeline and let us know!