Vodka Still Drives Spirits Market

A beverage trade writer recently interviewed me, asking about the big trends in the spirits market. Timely topic, as I was in the midst of putting the finishing touches on our SpiritsTAB report. My response juxtaposed the recent momentum in American whiskey with the fact that vodka’s growth had slowed to a crawl after several […]

Cocktail Customization Appearing on Drink Menus

Consumers want customizable options when it comes to foodservice, and this interest is spilling over into adult beverages as well. Restaurants and bars are adding create-your-own specialty cocktails to menus, offering customers the ability to build a drink they are far more likely to enjoy. Customizable specialty cocktails often spotlight pre-selected, non-alcohol ingredients, but encourage […]

Juniper Rising: Gin Makes Gains on Menus

Whiskey may be the spirit getting all the attention lately, but another category with pre-Prohibition roots is making what could be the start of a comeback. Following years of declines, gin volume increased in 2014, according to Technomic’s soon-to-be-released SpiritsTAB report. Though the growth was nominal (0.1%), the change in trajectory is welcome news for […]

Partnering on Calorie Counts

With just 238 days until calorie counts must appear on drink menus in chain restaurant and other multiunit on-premise locations, many operators are scrambling to assemble the necessary calorie and nutrition information. They’re also striving to gain clarity about the requirements to have compliant menus in place by the December 1 deadline. The issue shines […]

Retro Cocktail Conundrum

Ahhh…the ’70s. The era of shag-carpeted fern bars where the groovy types slugged back Harvey Wallbangers. Creamy drinks were also in—Mudslides, Pink Ladies, Grasshoppers—as were citrusy Amaretto Sours and Kamikazes. Bearing sometimes outlandish monikers, many of these libations delivered punches of familiar, almost comfort-food flavors such as orange, peach and vanilla (along with heavy cream), […]

Spirits: a Story to Tell

Consumers are increasingly interested in the origins of spirits, particularly whiskeys, and the process by which they are made. As a result, micro-distilleries are leading a trend toward transparency within the spirit industry, reflecting a very similar sourcing trend in the foodservice industry. That transparency is timely, as three brands—Tito’s, Maker’s Mark and Jim Beam […]

Operators Take a Crack at Nut Flavors in Adult Beverages

Nuts have become a popular addition to non-alcohol beverages with trends in non-dairy milk alternatives and coffee flavorings. But nutty flavors in adult beverages are also growing, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor online resource. Mentions of nuts—including almond, hazelnut, walnut, macadamia and more—have increased 22% from the fourth quarter of 2013 to the same period in […]

Questioning Their Loyalty

Technomic’s finding that several of the largest and most well-established adult beverage brands are challenged while smaller labels are accelerating raised some questions from beverage pros about the state of brand loyalty. In this age of product proliferation, expanding drink portfolios and shifting flavor preferences, it’s a valid concern. Checking in with the 2014 BarTAB report, we […]

State of the Alcohol Beverage Industry 2015: Small Is Big

The early results from 2014 tell a very clear story about the dynamics at play in the alcohol industry: The small are getting bigger, and the big, for the most part, aren’t. Beer held its majority share of total alcohol volume, but another year of overall decline resulted in beer again ceding some share to […]

Alcohol Beverage Flavor Trends 2015: The Buzz on Honey

Swiss flavorings and fragrances maker Firmenich is out with its annual Flavor of the Year proclamation, and the company’s top taste for 2015 is…honey. Within the alcohol beverage world, pure honey has been a sweet addition to specialty drinks and to flavored spirits in recent years, but you could be forgiven for thinking that honey’s […]