Each January is jam-packed with trend analyses and predictions, and the alcohol beverage world is no exception. Here, instead of restating what was or professing to know what will be, our team of beverage marketing experts and craft beer fans shares its hopes and dreams for the good, the bad and the not-yet-developed trends.

#1: Wine Industry Trends 

Katie Myers

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Drink Pink! 

Rosé wines continue to be popular, and for good reasons: They are refreshing, pair well with foods, and are appropriate for any season and practically any occasion. Rioja, our Spanish wine client, has seen a 30 percent increase in U.S. imports of Rioja Rosados year-over-year. I expect more events like La Nuit en Rosé celebrating this wine style in 2016.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Points

I’ve never been a big fan of the 100-point-scale that’s so common in our business. Wine is subjective, as are the palates and preferences of the people who drink it.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Wine and Music Pairings

Context matters. Music and wine each enhance their surroundings and together, they can pack a powerful punch. There’s already groundwork laid in this area. Check out “Wine That Rocks,” a Canadian show on wine and music pairings with Bill Zacharkiw. I’ve also seen local events that pair old world, more traditional wine and music styles. More please!

Olivia Tornick

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Bubbles

Consumers are finally starting to learn that there is a difference between “Champagne” and all other sparkling wines. There is growing interest in sparkling wines outside of France, as consumers realize sparklers don’t need a huge price tag to be delicious. Watch Cava from Spain climbing the popularity charts!  

What trend do you hope to see fade?

White Zinfandel

Please take it off wine lists everywhere! If you are a fan, start asking for “rosé” or “blush” wines instead, which offer more flavor nuances instead of “in your face” sweetness and are very versatile for food pairings. Restaurants that don’t serve an alternative to White Zinfandel have failed in my books.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Boxed Wine Losing Its Stigma

In the context of sustainable packaging, I’d love to see boxed wine lose its stigma and become something that people are proud to drink. There’s no reason why approachable, affordable wines that you buy with the intent to drink today or this weekend can’t be sold in a box.

#2 –Beer Industry Trends

Nicole Fischer

What trend do you hope to see continue?

The Established Post-Workout Beer

I love the uptick in brick and mortars like Shoes Brews that combine someone’s dedication for healthy living and love for group activities with the reward of a post-workout beer. Who wouldn’t want to grab a beer with their bike club after a long race? It’s also a smart marketing opportunity for craft beers looking to reach a certain consumer demographic. 

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Big Beer

I can do without beer behemoths purchasing distributors and then claiming it doesn’t affect that company’s ability to sell other craft beers with as much commitment. If your boss was a Snickers corporate guy at Mars, would you try really hard to sell Kit Kat?

What trend do you hope to see start?

Breweries uniting for a Good Cause

I hope to see more cross-craft brewery partnerships next year that focus on supporting a cause that has meaning for consumers. Take the cell phone industry and their joint campaign against texting and driving. Breweries could join forces for a number of causes, including recycling, water conservation or ingredient sustainability.

Denise Grega

What trend do you hope to see continue?

The Can Revolution

Craft breweries have started several cool trends in beer-toting, like ditching traditional glass bottles for more durable aluminum cans. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with the crowler, a custom-filled 32 oz. to-go can.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

The One-Size-Fits-All Beer List

Yes, it still exists. Some chain restaurants are still holding out on adapting their beer menus to include more locally-crafted options. With so many beers being produced by local breweries, there is great potential for creating a unique mix of well-known beers with local options both patrons and out of towners will appreciate.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Regional Tasting Rooms

Instead of just sampling “their” beer, I wish more craft breweries offered tastings of the best beers their region has to offer. Don’t limit it to beer, either, and partner up with a winery, cider company or distillery in the area for a “best of” tasting room. Breweries can expand their customer base, drive sales, and create mutually beneficial business relationships.

#3 – Spirits and On-Premise Trends

Anastasia Lopez

What trend do you hope to see continue?

The Resurgence of Classic Cocktails

Thanks to micro distilleries, I don’t see classic cocktails like Manhattans, Mint Juleps or Mai Tais dropping in popularity. These older cocktails really rely on the flavor of the spirit for their pizzazz and you can count on micro distilleries to deliver just that.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Vodka

Let’s focus on rum and tequila instead. I feel that warmer-weather spirits often play second fiddle in an on-premise setting. Wouldn’t it be cool to see bars elevate those flavors more year-round? 

What trend do you hope to see start?

Providing Consumers A Fun, On-Premise-Like Experience Everywhere

Brands need to think about how they can bring the cocktail bar experience to liquor stores and into the home. Bars across the U.S. are bending over backwards to entertain their customers, but the typical liquor store experience is still so meh. Clever social media use can bridge that gap! Much like we’re seeing on Instagram accounts like Women and Whiskies, it could be the simple art of elevating your influencer game to create beautiful, engaging content that’s accessible anywhere.

womenandwhiskies

Pablo Olay

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Success of Hard Cider

Hard cider will grow in the double digits next year, no doubt. On the heels of hard cider, Vermouth is also a category to look out for.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Unsustainable Growth of Craft Breweries

Within the next year, I predict that a third of the craft breweries out there will have to shut down. Only those that are well established and those with a unique or disruptive offering will survive.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Gin & Tonic’s Comeback

Bartenders across the world have already started experimenting with new flavors beyond the standard juniper and quinine. It won’t be long until Gin & Tonics get their own section on cocktail menus, much like Martinis. 

#4 – Flavor Trends

Jason Stemm

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Classic Cocktails with a Twist

I hope classic cocktails with a modern take will stick around, like these. Mad Men may be over, but vintage cocktails with a twist are as popular as ever.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Flavored Spirits

Flavored spirits are “Absolute” over.  To me, it seems like a way to cover up bad booze.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Hyper-local, Funky Flavors

Craft Kombucha and other drinks, like what comes out of the Urban Farm Fermentory. It has already started, but hyper-local, small batch drinks with funky flavors tied into the local bar/restaurant scene have a lot of room for growth.

Ed Hoffman

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Herbs!

Using basil, thyme and the likes never gets old!

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Overly Decadent Drinks

Let’s stop with multiple liqueurs that make cocktails too sweet and too caloric.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Veggies

I’d love to see experimentation with vegetables, or earthy flavor notes, in spirits and mixed drinks.

#5 – Odds and Ends

Tameka Davis

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Mix it With Rosé

Rosé wine as a mixer in cocktails or just drinking it on its own because it’s that good.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Mezcal

Let’s stick to good old tequila!

What trend do you hope to see start?

Food-Inspired Craft Beer

I would love to see more craft beer partnerships with food brands, like Fulton Brewing’s project with Wheaties and Ben & Jerry’s collaboration with New Belgium. It’s exciting to see the creativity and flavor profiles of new beers.

Laura Petrosky

What trend do you hope to see continue?

Real, Fresh Ingredients

The days of artificial flavors and impossible-to-pronounce ingredients are numbered. Cheers to cocktails made from scratch (yes, that includes picking the basil off the plant as needed), breweries using real fruit and spices for seasonal beers and 100%-juice mixers.

What trend do you hope to see fade?

Skinny Drinks

It amazes me how willingly we give up taste and great flavor for a lower calorie count.

What trend do you hope to see start?

Podcasts About Booze

Compared to the sheer number of food-related podcasts, podcasts about wine, beer, spirits or the art of mixology overall are far and few. Wine-related podcasts are catching up, but there is room for many more. I’d love to hear more podcasts produced by on-premise accounts or the people behind high-profile industry events, like Tales of the Cocktail!