The Numbers Are In! Drink Trend Forecast for 2014

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The Numbers Are In! Drink Trend Forecast for 2014Ladies 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.

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Ice Machines, Spices, and More: Top Drink Trends

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Are you caught up with the most recent trends in the beverage world? Restaurants that don’t change with the times can find themselves a bit low on profit and slow in business, so it’s best to put your ice machines to good use to offer customers trending options when it comes to drinks. This week ShortOrder offers you some of the top beverage trends in the business, and some ideas about how to incorporate them into your menus, from ice machines to coffee beans.

Pour-over coffee is making headway right now in the restaurant industry. This delectable spin on your basic brew involves pouring boiling water over a filter packed with coffee grounds. The result is the freshest of cups of Joe, and it seems patrons are willing to pay a little more for the quality. To mix things up, serve pour-over coffee on ice from your ice machines.

Try out specialty ice for your cocktails if you want to give your ice machines a rest. Flavored ice cubes might include smoked ice, flowers, fruits, spices, and herbs, and alter the flavor of a drink from start to finish. Use mint-infused ice in a mint julep, or simply add a new flavor to an old favorite with ice flavored with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Spicy cocktails are another trend making the rounds at bars everywhere. This trend is manifesting in everything from cocktails with a strong splash of ginger to martinis featuring harissa, a North African chile paste. The spicy cocktail is actually part of a growing trend in preferences for foods with a kick in all areas of the menu. Take advantage of this trend by shaking up some spicy-but-subtle cocktails over ice from your ice machines.

Craft beer has been a major player in the bar scene, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon. In fact, according to the Brewers Association, craft brew sales rose saw a 17% rise last year. To take advantage of this trend, find out where your local breweries are and consider stocking some of their wares. Customers will appreciate the local patronage, and brewers will appreciate the revenue and the publicity.

More Ice Machines and Tips from ShortOrder

What drink trends are you excited about right now? How have you put your ice machines to work to cash in on beverage trends? Connect with ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and tell us about it! You can also browse our selection of ice machines online and find the one that fits your bar or kitchen’s needs the best.

Get Out Your Bar Equipment: It’s American Craft Beer Week!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

If you think you’ve missed American Craft Beer Week, don’t worry! Stock your bar equipment and get ready for this weekend. American Craft Beer Week runs through this Sunday, May 19th, so you still have plenty of time to find a craft beer to serve with the bar equipment at your business or enjoy at your favorite watering hole.

What is American Craft Beer Week? It’s a week dedicated to celebrating the small and independent craft breweries that populate this fine nation. (As of June 2012, 2,075 of America’s 2,126 breweries were local craft brewers.) The Brewers Association, the national non-profit association behind ACBW, has called it “The Mother of All Beer Weeks.” ACBW gives all bars, restaurants, and purveyors of alcoholic beverages a reason to feature beers from their local breweries, bringing craft beer fans together to drink and make merry. For a list of craft beer events going on this weekend, check out CraftBeer.com’s events calendar.

But why not make your own ACBW fun? Or for that matter, make every week American Craft Beer Week? Stock up your bar equipment with local brews and prepare for success. It’s not just generous to support your local breweries—it can also be advantageous to your business. No longer a niche market, craft brew is gaining in popularity; so much so that major chains like Chili’s are putting their bar equipment to use by featuring craft brews on their menus. Additionally, in the “What’s Hot in 2013 Alcohol Survey” by the National Restaurant Association, locally-produced beer was the #1 predicted trend in beer for 2013, with craft beer and house-brewed beer following close behind in 3rd and 4th places. And according to Jennifer Zegler, a beverage analyst for the Mintel market research consultancy, “…craft beer has kept an upward trajectory throughout the economic downturn and subsequent slow recovery,” outdoing domestic and imported beer counterparts.

Do you stock craft beer in your restaurant? What’s your favorite craft beer? How do you use your bar equipment? Find ShortOrder on Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you’re featuring local brews with your restaurant bar equipment these days.

 

4 Winter Drinks to Simmer on Your Ranges

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Having winter drinks on our ranges at home is one of the best things about wintertime, and it’s no different in restaurants.  As kids we enjoyed seeing how many miniature marshmallows we could fit into a mug of hot cocoa.  We sipped at non-alcoholic eggnog, then wondered why anyone would want to sip at eggnog.  The smell of cider filling the house meant that the holidays were fast-approaching.  The fact is, warm beverages are a tried-and-true part of the winter months.

The nature of holiday libations ranges from rich, creamy refreshments to punches that are easy on juice and heavy on wine.  More often than not, the idea behind warm winter drinks is to throw all the ingredients into a saucepan, then let them simmer until ready to serve.  They are great to have readily available, because once they require no upkeep, as long as you keep them warm.  Here are four of the best winter drinks to please your guests.

1. Wassail (Non-Alcoholic)
This kid-friendly version of the traditional hot beverage will warm children and adults alike.  Its name comes from the Old English phrase “waes hael,” which means “be you healthy,” and was involved in an old drinking ritual that ensured a good harvest.  Today’s wassail is a more of a variation of mulled cider.  It usually combines several fruit juices cooked with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and sometimes allspice and ginger.  The result is a fragrant, flavorful punch.

2. Hot Chocolate
This winter drink is a classic.  However, there are many, many ways to put a new spin on hot chocolate.  Belgian hot chocolate, Mexican hot chocolate, hot chocolate Agasajo-style, and even peanut butter hot chocolate are all options.  Give your hot cocoa a kick with ancho chile and cinnamon, add a dollop of marshmallow fluff, or drizzle with some ever-trendy salted caramel.  Whatever you do, make sure you top it with real whipped cream and serve with biscotti, cookies, or toast.

3. Mulled Cider
Mulled cider is one of the timeless, great holiday drinks.  To make it, combine apple cider, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries, whole cloves, an anise star, and some thinly sliced oranges for a citrusy kick.  Let it simmer on one of your ranges for as long as you would like; the longer it simmers, the more flavor it has!  (Besides which, no one likes cold cider.)

4. Hot Spiced Ginger Lemonade
It turns out that lemonade is no longer limited to summertime.  Although it sounds an unlikely candidate for a winter beverage, it’s actually perfect for cold winter days.  It generally requires the same spices as a wassail, but uses lemonade instead of fruit juices.  The result is a lighter-tasting version, and a great way to surprise guests with the unexpected.

No matter how you choose to fill your menu or your ranges, be sure to be creative with your holiday drink recipes.  Your unique drinks will keep guests coming back for more!

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