2018 was a wild year for cocktails and spirits. We saw industry defining trends like the demand of Japanese whisky skyrocketing to the point where brands simply can’t produce enough to satiate the market, a swelling rebellion against the use of straws in cocktails, and the creative spark of cannabis infused cocktails start to rise.
So what will 2019 have in store? Here’s a few educated guesses for the future state of cocktails:
CBD Cocktails go mainstream
Seeing a larger trend of cannabis cocktails is one of the easier predictions to make this year. With bartenders looking for creative new outlets, and mainstream corporations looking for additional revenue streams, this one is a total no-brainer. Expect progressive bars to start championing CBD cocktails, and the stigma start to fade.
Low Proof Cocktails
The “mocktail” has been around for ages, but wha we’re seeing now is a new demand from drinkers for options that have less ABV than their usual counterparts. Just as beer drinkers are looking for lighter options they can enjoy throughout the evening, cocktails that have a much lower alcohol percentage allow for a night out on the town without getting completely hammered in the process.
Bars Get Environmental
As mentioned above, straws are on the out, but that’s not where this cause stops. There has already been an underground movement of “no-waste cocktails” and with added pressure on bars and restaurants to provide ‘green’ choices, expect to continue to see this movement gain steam. This doesn’t mean the quality will decline, in fact, taking a harder look at cocktail sustainability will offer creative insights into new and unique recipes.
Craft Canned Cocktails
We mentioned this one in our 2019 craft beer predictions but it’s worth mentioning here as well. Canned cocktails is an untapped marketing at the moment, one that several companies have already seen opportunity in. There is going to be huge consumer demand for increased cocktail variety, as more people realize the benefits of having a great cocktail in an easy to consume form.
Vegetal and Savoury Cocktails
Taking a cue from the kitchen, expect to see more cocktails on the menu that incorporate ingredients like radicchio, corn, beets, etc. Not only does this add a new complexity to the cocktail experience but it also provides added health benefits. It’s a win-win for both bartenders and drinkers alike.
There’s our five predictions for the cocktail space in 2019. If you want to see where we think the craft beer industry is headed this year, you can find that post here.