2015 On Premise Trends to Watch

The most recent Cheers On Premise BARometer Handbook from the Beverage Information & Insights Group contains the latest data on drink sales at bars and restaurants. Among the information in the book is trends to watch in 2015. Here’s a preview of some of the trends that will impact the on premise beverage alcohol industry in the next twelve months. Visit www.bevinfostore.com to purchase the complete handbook, which contains dozens of more trends to watch.

 

  1. Get Local & Authentic
    • Craft beer, wine and spirits are showing up everywhere. Brand recognition across state lines is still a challenge for many of these small distillers, whose loyal customers are often local. Mimicking the early stages of the emerging craft beer scene, small batch spirits are at a higher price point and require more of a hand sell by bartenders. Larger suppliers are seeing their menu share erode slightly more as bars and restaurants integrate a few craft brand offerings.
  1. Personalized Service (aka the Speakeasy is Dead)
    • The most successful establishments are lauded not for just for their creative cocktails or award-winning wine lists, but for service. Today’s consumers want to feel special, catered to, surprised even with an exceptional experience.
  1. Kitchen Cocktails
    • Culinary cocktails, defined as drinks made using fresh ingredients or infused with herbs or fruit, are an offshoot of the locavore movement. “Bar chefs” as some are known, cultivate their own gardens or source from local purveyors to make an array of seasonal spirits and cocktails.
  1. Global Flavor
    • South American spirits cachaça and pisco, as well Indian and Japanese whiskies are on the rise. Many global local brands like soju are also making small inroads to the U.S. market as adventurous consumer palates crave more ethnic cuisine and beverages.
  1. Single-Concept Bars/Menus
    • While the idea of rum or Tiki or wine bars isn’t groundbreaking, the evolution toward more esoteric concepts is testament to the need for differentiation among the on-premise establishments. Consumers are looking for intensely curated lists of beers, wines and spirits for a conceptual drinking experience.
  1. Bitter & Savory
    • Despite the proliferation of candy flavored vodkas, there’s a growing movement toward bitter and savory. The two have become the salt and pepper of the bar chef. Led by the resurgence of Campari, the common usage of bitters as a cocktail ingredient is widespread. Brands like Aperol and Fernet Branca have even become the main focus of drinks. No matter the size of the bar, you’ll find staple cocktail bitters like Angostura and Peychaud’s, as well as variety of potables (some made in-house) in flavors like wormwood, celery and chocolate. Bitter IPA beers are also the most popular style out there.
  1. Keep it Classic
    • Yes, classic cocktails are once again, classic, found on menus at nearly every type of establishment these days. However a pitfall lurks when bartenders try too hard to reinvent basic drinks, catapulting them right out of classic to catastrophic. Be cautious of how you interpret classic cocktails on your menus and keep them as close to the original; don’t refit a brand in to a recipe where it doesn’t make sense. Remember, they’re called “classic” for a reason.
  1. Tap It, Age It, Bottle It
    • It’s all about barrels and kegs on-premise, and not just for beer. From straight spirits and wines on tap, to complete cocktails, the idea of offering customers something they can’t get anywhere else is appealing to operators.
  1. Frozen Drinks
    • Corresponding with less fussy cocktail trend, many craft bartenders are reinventing a Tiki staple, the frozen drink. Long considered a vacation indulgence (not often made with quality ingredients), a whole new host of milkshakes, floats and booze pops are making their way on to menus at bars and restaurants not typically known for their blenders.
  1. Technology and Social Media Sell
    • Large or small, restaurants and bars benefit from Facebook and Twitter to share new menus, specials and photos. These tools are also a great way to garner instant customer feedback and see trends go viral. T.G.I. Friday’s held a live Twitter event on mixology with well-known cocktail and spirits writer Camper English. The session resulted in over 3 million impressions per hour using the hashtag #ItsAlwaysFriday.

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