Drink Trends to Watch in 2020

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As 2020 begins, it is time to predict the trends in drinks that will define the upcoming year. This isn’t an easy thing! Last year, we had forecast that sherry-based drinks, closed-loop liquors and health and well-being discussions would rule the bar culture. From the upswing of Instagrammable drinks to the request for low-ABV liqueurs that keep the night going, the way we drink constantly changes.

Is this the year when the word natural wine kicks the bucket? And how much will the market for no-and low-ABV drinks rise?

There are a range of developments that are expected to drive the creation of the drink sector in 2020 – from the increase of highballs beyond classic gin and tonic to the growth of tea-inspired spirits and syrups. We can’t say where it’s going next for sure, but we have got some clue.

Can Taxes Influence Everything?

While reportedly, the proposed 100% tariffs that destabilize the entire US wine industry might potentially determine consumer purchasing decisions in 2020. Those of us who enjoy rosé wines in the summer can expect to see a huge rise in the price of bottles from Europe. It is also likely that selection will be greatly reduced if, as many in the industry predict, smaller importers and distributors struggle to survive with the added business expense. Various popular summer drinks, including Aperol Spritz, will also be affected. (Aperol liqueur and Prosecco are also subject to the planned tariff increases.) The same applies to Negroni, with Campari being subject to possible duties. Heading into the winter, when the colder months demand for heavier pours, Irish whiskey and Scotch could double the cost, making the desired evening glass even more precious. And once the time arrives to finally toast a new year, drinkers would be better off rationing Champagne or looking for non-European or domestic alternatives.


Gins continue to rule the roost with the millennials with more variety than ever before – ginger and lemongrass, shiraz, rhubarb and ginger, bathtub gin, tanglin gin and many others. Infact gin with its varieties is now taking as much space on good bars as the single malts – and that’s saying something!

Low And No-Proof Cocktails Will Occur On Menus!

Last year, we forecasted that low-and non-proof cocktail lists would go global. With responsible alcohol consumption (especially among millennial) and a growing wellness culture, it seemed natural for bars across the country to follow the lead of high-profile, large-city establishments in offering a range of low ABV choices. In fact, many bartenders around the country followed suit and introduced complex spirit-free selections to their cocktail programs. This year, we believe that the movement will develop further and become part of the mainstream.

Time For Some Tea!

The hunt for new flavours to play with has brought some of the best and the brightest bartenders in the ancient world of tea. Tea-infused spirits, syrups and other homemade creations have made an appearance in some of the 2019’s highest-profile menu launches – and the trend does not seem ready to end there. Thanks to its level of tannins, tea can bring a drying sensation in its undulating form and can even be fermented to create kombucha and bring more complex flavours to the fore.

Hard Seltzer Is Not Going Anywhere!

Without some kind of doubt, the main trend of 2019 was the meteoric rise of the hard seltzer category. But while similarly hyped fads often fail to meet the time test, we believe that hard seltzers are here to stay in 2020 and even beyond. In October 2019, a beer report showed that five of the top ten dollar growth brands in the year were hard seltzers. When we reached out to the brewers for their predictions of the 2020 beer ecosystem, many also referred to hard seltzer as a trend to watch.

Alternative Acids!

The complex flavours of a cocktail are the outcome of a careful balance of sweet salty, bitter and sour ingredients. Increasingly, the root of a drink’s sour characteristic has come from further afield than the humble citrus fruit. Although lemon juice and lime juice can add a touch of zest to the cocktails, bartenders are now also turning to other sources for this acidic hit. Eco-minded bartenders have found ways to convert citrus skins into sour stocks that can add a pop, and other experts have turned to home-made creations such as vinegar-based shrubs and highly acidic but savoury cordials. Diluted citric, malic and phosphoric acid solutions are now also available in bars. They offer greater consistency and can provide incentives for creativity and innovation.

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