This is the third in our four part Symrise series on the flavor outlook for 2015. In this post we will explore alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. In terms of general trends, we are still seeing the growth of wine and craft breweries and distillers.
Foodchannel.com in its online article: “Top 10 Food Trends for 2015,” states:
“The Casualization of Wine -- Millennials are drinking so much wine that wine is being rebranded as an everyday drink. No longer left to special occasions, it's got a health halo that adds to the license to enjoy.”
However, it is hardly just wine. Business Insider (December 11, 2014) sees “more craft gin and whiskeys” in 2015, but the distilled spirits industry as well as artisanal beers are taking on whole new flavor profiles to expand the market with almost unheard of creativity.
As for beer, GoLocalProv.com (December 31, 2014) said:
“Creative craft brewers already have a movement in full swing, and flavors will shift behind a wider variety of ingredients, broadening taste profiles beyond the hoppy styles in fashion today. Seasonings known as gruits — herbs, spices and aromatics [will be employed].”
This trend is very similar to the sweet and savory trends we detailed in the preceding blogs of this series.
Distilled spirits will also be taking on new flavor profiles. Again, from Business Insider:
"Bourbon and whiskey are king, but signs point to rum soon becoming the life of the party…Look for a spiced rum, a sipping rum such as Bacardi's Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron, and white rums in cocktails.”
As for Bourbon, Huff Post Taste in their “New Food Trends 2015” notes: “bourbon is being flavored with honey and chili pepper or with pumpkin pie spices.”
Baum + Whitman, an international food and restaurant consultancy, predicted in their 2015 trend report that: “As for drinks; beer and vodka are out - and whiskey is in. We're told we may even find coffee shops offering to serve up whiskeys with your flat whites.” Business Insider (December 11, 2014) also reflected the above, “Iced lattes, with and without alcohol.”
These trends could signal a whole new generation of distilled “coffee friendly” spirits that wise marketers and product development teams might wish to explore.
As outrageous as your barista serving up shots of whiskey with your coffee might sound consider another Baum + Whiteman prediction: “Childhood treats boozed up as adult shakes and smoothies with bourbon, gin, Frangelico, Galliano, Chartreuse.”
Note that these flavor and beverage trends do not include vodka; flavored or otherwise.
The 2015 Cocktail Scene
We noted that the cocktail scene in 2015 is an extension of the trends notes in the “Savory flavors” blog we have previously posted. For example, TheDailyMeal.com (December 18, 2014) in researching 2015 trends:
“We spoke with a representative from the Kendall College Culinary School in Chicago who predicted, among other things, that sour flavors and all things pickled are going to be big in 2015, especially in cocktails.”
While beer, in and of itself, is expected to decline in 2015 it may take on a different role in combination with other drinks. Huff Post’s “New Food Trends 2015” said:
“Cocktails with beer are finding favor in trendy bars. Meanwhile, Micheladas are creeping up on us. Micheladas are Mexican beer concoctions that invite you to dump in all manner of spices -- bloody Mary mix, chipotle-tomato juice, soy sauce, beef broth and tequila ...you get the idea: beer for restless palate people who've become blasé about just a pint of IPA.”
Note the flavor fusion of these beverages. This could again signal a new category of beverages or flavoring mixtures added to beer to create an entirely new taste, drawing upon influences from east and west, north and south.
In the 2015 blog we wrote on “Sweet,” we talked of the use of coconut and maple sweeteners. These flavor profiles will also be changed and challenged in the world of beverage. Huff Post Taste’s trend report stated:
“Even coconut and cucumber waters, promoted as somehow being ‘purer,’ are being overlaid (or adulterated) with flavors like coffee and mango and with energy-boosting ingredients. Now maple water and birch sap are being tested.”
It is possible we might see the rise of exotic energy drinks with flavors taken from trees such as birch that here-to-fore have been very far below the radar.
We should not overlook hot drinks such as tea, especially “Matcha.” Bon Appétit magazine (January 14, 2015) has a love affair with this powdered green tea and they predict an explosion in its consumption. Matcha is seen as even more nutritional than standard green tea and we believe the stage is set for many foods and beverages to incorporate the Matcha flavor profile into their products.
What is quite interesting to us about the flavors of beverages, is that they have been carried over from the food flavor trends we have noted in “sweet” and “savory.” The beverage profiles are evolving and running in parallel with snacks, side dishes and center of the plate offerings.