In recent years, drinking habits across the globe have shifted dramatically. Each year brings new trends that push the bar industry into new directions and usher in even more changes. Entering 2022, consumers have generally become more focused on what they put into their bodies, resulting in a growing interest in health-conscious products. Below, we'll investigate some of the most popular trends that you and your bar can embrace.
1. Cannabis Beverages
Relatively new to the market, THC-infused cannabis beverages have seen a dramatic increase in popularity over the past year and is projected to continue growing throughout 2022. Available in beer, wine, seltzer, soda, and even powder form, these beverages give customers more control over the effect their drinks have on them.
Similar to alcohol, the effects of cannabis beverages can be felt in as little as 15 minutes, but the key difference is how long they last. Although it can vary depending on the type of drink, cannabis beverages generally wear off faster than alcohol, providing a sessionable alternative for your bar. If these drinks are permitted in your state, you can make the most of this trend by adding a selection of cannabis beverages to your menu.
2. Hard Kombucha
Although the fermentation process leaves all kombucha with a small percentage of alcohol in it, hard kombucha is intentionally fermented longer. As a result, the beverage has a higher alcohol content, with some variations of the drink containing as low as 4% alcohol while others can reach upwards of 8% alcohol.
It’s important to note that while hard kombucha has several of the health benefits of regular kombucha, such as being rich in antioxidants and containing fewer carbs, it isn’t as rich in probiotics as its non-alcoholic counterpart. Probiotics, known as the good bacteria contained in yeasts, are typically present in kombucha. However, the high alcohol content of the drink causes them to die off.
Since hard kombucha is a different type of drink than the others you may offer, consider creating a hard kombucha section on your menu. This way, health-conscious guests will be able to easily identify and order it.
3. Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Simply put, non-alcoholic beverages are a version of an alcoholic drink that doesn’t contain alcohol. It is projected that by 2024, non-alcoholic drinks could account for nearly a third of the market. Sometimes referred to as temperance drinks, these beverages can be found in a variety of forms. Some of the most popular types of non-alcoholic beverages include:
Non-alcoholic beer: This type of beer has existed for quite some time, but it only recently branched out into new and interesting directions. In recent years, the non-alcoholic beer industry has taken a particular interest in modeling their products after craft beers, providing much of the same experience without the alcohol content.
Non-alcoholic wine: A bottle of non-alcoholic wine contains the same flavors and structure as a traditional bottle of wine, with the key difference being that it contains little to no alcohol. Because of its non-alcoholic nature, this type of wine appeals to the continually growing group of health-conscious and alcohol-free customers.
Non-alcoholic spirits: Along with wines and beers, non-alcoholic spirits have seen a rise in popularity. Alcohol-free whiskey, tequila, and gin have allowed customers to enjoy the feeling of drinking liquor without the side effects.
4. Organic Wine
The key difference between normal wine and organic wine is that the latter is made exclusively with organically farmed grapes. It’s important to note that many organic wines can still contain additives such as yeast, egg whites, and animal enzymes. In general, organic wines contain higher concentrations of antioxidants and anthocyanins, making them a healthier alternative to traditional wines.
The shift towards a focus on organic wine is driven by both wine producers and consumers. Many wine producers find themselves compelled to pursue organic production methods as a necessity, as the long-term results of growing organic grapes can lead to healthier land. Furthermore, they are motivated by consumer demand, with organic wines representing healthier, eco-friendly alternative. To take advantage of this trend, be sure to clearly identify which wines in your selection are organic. This way, customers who are already looking for them can easily find them, while those who may not have been aware of organic wine may consider trying it.
5. Aperitifs and Digestifs
As the world begins to open up again, many people are excited to return to public life. After extended periods of lockdowns, indoor dining regulations, and a general unwillingness to be around large groups, many people want their dinner plans to be more of an event than they were before. As a result, aperitifs and digestifs have seen a significant increase in popularity.
Aperitifs and digestifs are alcoholic beverages meant to be enjoyed before and after a meal. While aperitifs help to enhance one’s appetite, digestifs are consumed to aid digestion. Some common examples of an aperitif include vermouth, champagne, and gin. Furthermore, examples of digestifs include brandy, herbal liquors, and fortified wines. You can keep up with this trend by offering a selection of aperitifs and digestifs to customers as they order. As you choose which ones to include on your drinks menu, consider what will pair well with the foods you offer.
6. Canned Cocktails
The rise of canned beverages began during the pandemic and has continued as the world begins to open up again. With more varieties of drinks being introduced every year, it’s safe to assume the canned cocktail trend will only continue to grow. Being safe, environmentally friendly, and convenient, these cocktails offer a variety of advantages for your bar.
Embracing canned cocktails can be an excellent way to enhance your menu. Because of their canned design, these cocktails are more environmentally friendly than their glass counterparts. Because of the sealed top, it is easy to keep the drink inside safe from germs and other hazardous materials. Finally, these conveniently packaged drinks can be enjoyed from nearly anywhere, whether it’s in a bar, at events, or in someone’s own home.
Although mocktails aren’t a new creation, the increased popularity of non-alcoholic spirits has led to an increase in their demand. In many cases, mocktails are fashioned after their alcoholic counterparts. Additionally, it’s important to note that although these drinks do not contain alcohol, there should be just as much focus and care put into the drink as there would be a normal cocktail. To embrace this trend, consider adding several different non-alcoholic spirits to your bar. This will allow your bartenders to create a variety of mocktails, giving your customers several options to choose from.
From non-alcoholic alternatives to canned versions of classic bar drinks, 2022 will bring with it an increased focus on health, happiness, and sustainability. By embracing these trends in your bar, you’ll be able to satisfy your guests while simultaneously positioning your business to succeed in 2022 and beyond.