Much like shifts in food preferences, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage consumption will undergo changes in 2016 in the way of new ingredients and exciting ethnic flavors.  Those involved in product development and new product marketing should take advantage of these opportunities to capitalize on these trends.

1. Latin SpiritsAccording to the website Firstwefeast.com (June 4, 2015), look for the rise of the Latin spirits such as Brazilian Cachaça, derived from the first pressing of sugar cane and used in cocktails with ingredients such as guava and lemon.

2. Return of the Spices – There is once again a return of spices and heat to alcoholic beverages. Look for a resurgence in the use of Nutmeg, Cardamom, Thai Chile, Cumin, Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon and Hot Pepper, reflecting trends we have long noted in the ethnic cuisines. We can’t help but wonder if there are opportunities here for non-alcoholic beverages as well.

3. Juicing with a Twist – It was bound to happen and in cocktail lounges across the nation (com June 4, 2015), mixologists are combining and complementing fresh-squeezed juice combinations with adult beverages. For example, carrot, orange, parsnip, turmeric, lemon, and ginger shrub are being mixed with gin, triple sec, and Kummel. Incidentally, market research predicts a huge resurgence in gin this coming year.

4. Everything Old is New Again – The Spirits Business (November 4, 2015) is reporting a great deal of interest in classic cocktails including Mojitos, Martinis, Manhattans, Cosmopolitans and the Old Fashioned.

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5. Free Cocktails – Katy Carter of Cellar Trends (a UK distributor of alcoholic beverages) predicts that low-calorie and alcohol-free cocktails are set to become more popular in 2016. Carter’s research shows that about 25% of cocktail drinkers would choose a low calorie or no-calorie option if available. This could potentially open a new beverage category.

6. Sustainable Shakes – Mashable (December 6, 2015) is predicting a trend for 2016 based on sustainable food technology and we could see the rise of meal shakes that are totally vegan and sustainable.

7. Savory Flavored Drinks – Food Business News (October 19, 2015) and other sources are reporting that 2016 will continue to see a decline in sugary drinks in favor of more savory flavors. Product development teams should continue to explore fermented flavors, vinegar and pickled juices combined with other juice ingredients.

8. Sweet Wines – Nation’s Restaurant News (December 17, 2015) sees a continuation of the Millennial trend toward sweeter wine. Look for the continued popularity of Rieslings and Moscato.

9. India Pale Ale – According to the Brewer’s Association, India Pale Ale will remain popular heading into 2016 and 27% of all beer produced will be labeled as “Craft Beer.”

10Going Small – Bret Thorn of Nation’s Restaurant News predicts a Starbucks roll-out of “Shake Shooters” in 2016. These are smaller, less caloric and cheaper versions of their 10 ounce drinks. This could carry over to other chains and consumer products.

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