The pace of change within the drinks industry is now so fast it can be hard to predict what is going to be on back bars and on wine lists next month never mind for the next 12 months. But if anyone can then it is national drinks distributor Bibendum which has been brave enough to stick its neck out and pick out the Top 10 drinks trends it believes we will all be talking about, buying and selling in 2020.
If you are looking to revamp your drinks or wine list for next year, then you might want to bookmark this article and see if any, or perhaps all, of Bibendum’s Top 10 Drinks Trends for 2020 are going to be right for you business.
Look to the East
Bibendum believes the lure and attraction of different styles of drink from across Asia and the Far East are going to really make an impact in 2020, with particular opportunities for Japan, China, Korea and South East Asia. Already in 2019 it is seeing three out of 10 what it calls “trendsetting wine venues” in the UK listing sake, with liqueurs and ingredients from across the Far East being used in around 10% of the cocktails being made in what it categorises as “mode-tracked bars”. These include the citrus fruit Yuzu, the Pandan plant and Miso seasoning.
Perhaps less controversially Bibendum also sees sustainable packaging as having an even bigger impact on the drink sector in the year ahead. Already a major issue for most distributors and on-trade outlets, Bibendum sees packaging becoming even more important across all drinks categories, and in every channel, regardless of where the bar or restaurant is and what it sells. Particularly now, it says, that 87% of consumers are concerned about packaging, with the majority putting the onus on producers to pack their products responsibly.
Be it wine in cans, to wine and cocktails on tap, through to more innovative beer packaging, Bibendum expects to see far more brands take action to reduce their environmental impact in 2020.
Craft Coffee Fusions
This is a bit more left field, and perhaps not news to those already enjoying coffee-based cocktails, but as coffee cements its place in the ‘craft’ movement, Bibendum sees its influence on beer, spirits and RTDs continuing to grow in the months to come. Particularly around developments in cold brews. It also forsees a wider use of Guarana seeds and unroasted ‘green’ coffee beans in bars, and in 2020 it “expects alcoholic ‘hard’ coffee RTDs to catch on” and follow a trend that has already started in the US. “Stout lends itself well to coffee flavours, so expect some beer and coffee fusions too,” says Bibendum.
The wine trade has been extolling the virtues of Austria for some time, with Riesling, in particular, singled out as many a a sommelier’s favourite grape variety. But now that Austrian wine features on nine out of 10 of the most “trendsetting wine lists” Bibendum believes its time has come, if it has not already arrived. We can expect to see more diversity in the range of Austrian wines in the market, and opportunities for more indigenous grapes, like Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and Saint Laurent. Austrian sparkling wines should also do well.
If you follow any of the drinking trends coming out of the US then it is hard to get past hard seltzers, where Bibendum says sales are up 210% in the last year. In fact such is the demand for anything with hard and seltzer attached to it that some states have run short of cans and the leading brand White Claw has even sold out in some areas.
For those not in the know, hard seltzers are typically low calorie, low sugar and low ABV (4-6%). So hip, trendy and on message for so many drinkers looking to control their drinking and be healthy at the same time. They are yet to hit it big in the UK, but if you want to be ahead of the next big thing then hard seltzers is the place to be looking.
Now this really could be something, particularly when you only have to look at what pink gins have done to an already booming gin market. With Prosecco sales starting to flatten overall, but still enjoying 28% growth in the on-trade, the introduction of pink Proseccos in 2020 could really help give another adrenaline rush to the sparkling category, believes Bibendum. “With one in four consumers regularly ‘drinking pink’, we expect to see it fly off the shelves,” it says.
But it doesn’t stop at Prosecco, adds Bibendum, “rosé cider and pink gin will still be huge in 2020”.
Spain continues to be the gift that keeps on giving, in terms of quality and diversity. Its why Rioja is the UK consumer’s favourite winemaking region globally, claims Bibendum. Next year our fascination with regional Spain could push out into different regions, which would be good news for the on-trade where, despite its popularity, only 20% of premium restaurant lists include Rioja. Bibendum has high hopes for regions such as Catalonia, Galicia and the Canary Islands. It also expects there to be more interest in grape varieties such as Carignan, Verdejo and Bobal.
Argentina and Chile might be attracting more and more buyers, but when they do they are increasingly look to stop off and explore other parts of South America at the same time. So much so that Bibendum sees a healthy future for Uruguay and Bolivia in 2020, as well as Argentina’s less discovered regions like Patagonia. Which will also see greater interest in lesser-known varieties such as Bonarda, Touriga and Tannat.
Natural winemaking is proving to be far more than a passing trend, as winemakers across the globe opt for low-intervention methods to produce high quality wine. Next year, we will see the natural trend trickle into the craft beer market, as brewers begin to experiment with ‘wild’ or ‘spontaneous’ fermentation – instead of using cultured yeast. In wine, naturally fermented Pet-Nat sparkling is going to become an even firmer favourite of the premium on-trade.
Yes to Low and No
Low and no drinks categories have already taken the drinks industry by storm in the last two years. Next year will see the category widen and diversify into different areas, including dark spirits, aperitifs and RTDs, claims Bibendum. “Beer is currently the leading category in low and no, and next year we’ll see it migrate onto draught in the on-trade. As brands raise the bar in choice and quality, consumption will continue to rise,” it adds.
- You can download the full trends report from Bibendum here.