While last year brought its share of challenges for the beverage industry, it also spurred some exciting innovations and unique offerings. From the rise of canned cocktails and hard seltzers, to adaptive to-go drinks, the beverage industry found a way to rise above the insanity of 2020.
As we enter the new year, let’s take a look at what 2020 trends will continue and what new beverage trends you can expect in 2021.
Hard seltzers have popped and fizzed onto the alcoholic beverage scene over the past few years, and their popularity shows no signs of waning. Hard seltzers were inspired by traditional water-only seltzers developed more than 250 years ago. English chemist Joseph Priestly referred to the process as "impregnating water with air." How's that for arcane alcohol-related information?
Before 2019, you might have ordered a seltzer-based beverage that included seltzer, such as a Tom Collins or a wine spritzer, but the world had no idea what it was in for before the release of White Claw canned hard seltzers. The popularity was instant among everyone from college kids on spring break to sports fans at the ballpark or stadium. Several companies produce hard seltzers, including Arctic Chill, Bud Light, Two Robbers, Truly, and Wild Basin. Each company comes up with its own new, unique, and exciting flavors to keep your taste buds happy.
Hard seltzers are technically flavored malt beverages (FMBs) that feature a peppy alcoholic bite and kick through the malt grain fermentation, offering lovers a one-of-a-kind flavor. Flavors top companies have developed, often using natural ingredients, including lemon strawberry, ginger lime, and raspberry.
The trend is still going strong, so pick up your favorite hard seltzer brand and flavor for your next gathering.
Learning to make to-go cocktails is an art and skill that pays for itself and impresses plenty of people along the way. People will marvel at your knowledge of ingredients in obscure and old-school cocktails. You might not be the one bringing the six-pack or bottle of wine, but you can do wonders with a liquor bar, seltzer, juices, soda, and ice. Some recurring requests you might receive include whiskey sours, Bellinis, Manhattans, and margaritas.
Preference for Sustainability
Did you ever think you would start drinking for sustainability? Now that you can, why not? Perhaps not surprisingly, a primary philosophy of sustainable drinking is to consume less alcohol. Moderation is a key factor for conscientious drinkers, but they do in fact include more than water in their sustainable beverages. Eco Cult recommends trying organic liquor, beer, and wine the next time you visit a high-end bar. Some options you'll find include Square One Vodka, Prairie Vodka and Gin, Crop Vodka, and Tequila Alquemia. These alcoholic beverages are grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides, or chemicals. Many bars now serve Peak Organic beer. Even if sustainability for your beverage trends isn't a crucial consideration for you, it's easy enough to try at nearby bars, clubs, and restaurants.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is everywhere these days. The trend continues to grow with predictions that CBD foods could become a $3 billion industry by 2021. All kinds of companies are adding CBD to an array of food and drinks, which has industry experts projecting an eventual $200 billion per year industry. It might come as no surprise that CBD is a strong complement to alcohol since it has various positive mood-enhancing effects. It's come to the point that many drinks that contain CBDs are considered healthy drinks.
If you're new to the CBD-infused beverage industry, here are some items you might enjoy:
- Cannawine. This Spanish wine is sweet, sugary, and is enhanced with CBD hemp extract. Best served cold, Cannawine offers 14.5% alcohol by volume. Benefits you can experience a glass of Cannawine include its acting as an anti-depressive and antispasmodic agent.
- Aurora Elixirs. Sparkling tonics from Aurora Elixirs come in two flavors and contain 15mg of CBD and no alcohol. Low in sugar and containing all-natural ingredients, you'll love the Lavender Spice and Grapefruit Rosemary tonics for something truly unique and brimming with good health.
Low and No Alcohol
Sometimes you might want to enjoy everything associated with cocktails except the alcohol. Whether you have an early day at work in the morning, you're pregnant, or you're trying to reduce your alcohol consumption generally, there are plenty of delightful low and no alcohol options you can enjoy while spending time with friends and family.
Alcohol-free beers have made the rounds for years, and new companies launch exciting new products all the time. This year, for instance, BrewDog launched a new non-alcoholic beer called Elvis AF. The beer offers strong flavors like its alcoholic counterpart.
Brancott Estate Flight offers a 9% low alcohol wine from New Zealand that has won honors in international wine competitions for wine lovers. Eisberg Sparkling Wine contains no alcohol and only 31 calories per serving. This champagne cocktail contains citrus and peach notes.
If you've never heard of canned cocktails, you're in for a treat. Canned cocktails are the perfect alternative for someone who wants to bring a canned beverage but has no interest in beer or hard seltzers. You also might not want to spend all your time behind the bar mixing your favorite cocktails. Here are some of the top cocktails you'll find in a handy can:
- Hard ciders
- Vodka sodas
- Mai Tais
- Bloody Marys
- Gin & tonics
Everyone would like to drink beloved beverages without worrying over potentially adverse effects on health. Alcohol companies are taking people's increasing focus on health more seriously and are developing more health-conscious beverages. Whether you want to trim your waistline or protect your liver, there are plenty of healthy-ish cocktails you can choose at the bar or your next party. Here are a few:
- Gin Gimlet. Gin is always a good idea for anyone trying to cut back on calories and carbohydrates. Infusing cucumbers into your gin results in a refreshing Gin Gimlet that leaves only a small caloric footprint.
- Diet Jack and Coke. Remember, we said "healthy-ish." Diet Coke isn't exactly a health drink, but it's calorie-free and pairs well with Jack Daniels whiskey.
- Canela Margarita. The cinnamon addition in this drink is what puts it on the list since the spice has been linked to improved blood sugar levels. Cinnamon might also curb blood sugar levels and lower stubborn insulin resistance. Tequila is a low-calorie and low-carbohydrate liquor that packs a punch with its alcohol content. With that in mind, you only need one Canela Margarita to feel its effects.
- Vodka Tonic With a Twist of Lime. The simplicity of this drink is part of its charm. You might note that this is frequently the drink of choice when out with your girlfriends watching their weight and health.
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