The pandemic forced us to change our habits, but even with closed bar and social distancing, the beverage industry remained creative and resourceful. On the bright side, it has also accelerated or pushed for the creation of new kinds of beverages or habits. It is only the beginning as those are here to stay and grow in 2021.
The trends to watch in 2021 are as follow:
Alcohol to go
To help survive the pandemic, the obvious first choice who appeared to venue owner is of course: Alcohol to go. Quickly the legislation evolved, allowing bars and restaurants to set up pick up booths or even work with delivery app.
Creating a menu to go has its constraint; the first one is transportation, but you also need to think of conservation and freshness of the ingredient. To avoid maintaining complex inventory, bars decided to reduce their menu to the strict minimum, usually creating simple but well-known cocktails. This trend appeared all over the world, from New York to Paris to Sydney, it is the easiest way to ensure a source of incomes.
Alcohol in cans
As it was not possible anymore to take our glass outside, and bottles are quite heavy and difficult to despair, we entered the golden age of “everything in cans”. Which is particularly true for wine. 2020 was a good year for canned wine, first of all, because it is really practical to transport (cf “alcohol to go”). But also because canned wine is packed in single-serve portions, which is convenient for people who want to drink a glass of wine without opening a full bottle. As the canned wine touched every segment (red, white, rosé), it also provides more flexibility to try more flavor. Can wine is still relatively new but still, carry the mistake from the past. From inconsistent quality, metallic taste, to cheap grape selection. But it seems that 2021 will be better as new qualitative brands raise the bar and also capitalize on Celebs endorsement.
The hybrid model
The hybrid model is one of these trends that appeared before but people were not sure about it. The pandemic and especially the necessity to overcome the governmental restriction (restaurant closed but grocery stores open) pushed owners to switch their venue into “rest-store” (restaurant + store). The “rest-store” can have different forms: it could be a mix between alcohol and food (Liquor ice cream), or a distinct selection of unrelated products (liquor and sweats). The main advantage is to keep the place open during the pandemic.
- low alcohol
Low alcoholic spirit cover beverage distilled and filtered twice to remove the alcohol through evaporation. The idea is to get a drink with less than 0.5% of alcohol by volume (ABV). At this level, alcohol cannot be processed within the blood. As wine in cans, low alcoholic spirit suffers from bad reputation: lacking in taste, most of the time watered down, not something that you can taste neat! But 2020 saw news brands across Europe and the US, with the help of creative bartenders who succeed to replicate the favor of the most fined spirit.
The revenge of mixer is finally here. During so many years, Mixer was considered as the cheap cousin of fresh cocktail, filled with artificial ingredients and sugar. But the pandemic and the “do it at home” mindset helped promote this easy solution for wannabe bartenders. Mixers are made with fresh ingredients, allowing convenient and qualitative drink when mixed with any spirits.
Cannabis drinks have grown for the last two years thanks to consumers looking to avoid the poison of alcohol. They want to still feel relaxed while drinking but want to skip the next day’s hangover. Furthermore, mindful drinkers are attracted with those beverages because it does not contain any THC. But instead feature CBD; the part of the plant that supposedly helps mood, fall asleep, or reduce inflammation.