What beverage trends to look out for in the coming year and the impact they will likely have on the equipment and supplies industry.

We compiled some of these trends findings based on recent reports from Andrew Freeman & Co., the National Restaurant Association, and a report by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, which surveyed chefs, sommeliers, general managers and bartenders from more than 80 of its properties across 37 cities in the U.S., Europe and Caribbean.

Nordic Inspiration

As Nordic food influences grow on menus around the country, we’re seeing fresh, colorful ingredients like carrots, cabbage, beets and many foraged foods. Along those lines, cocktail makers now infuse those foods into their drinks, embracing things like juniper, ligonberries, shrubs, dill, rhubarb and even weeds for making tinctures and tonics for cocktails and mocktails alike.

Bar E&S Implication: induction burners, saucepots and strainers for simmering shrubs into tonics; highball glasses meant for layering, infusing and displaying multiple ingredients.

Cold-Brew

Although it’s become a mainstay in the coffee world, bartenders now find uses for cold brew coffee and even tea as yet another ingredient for their innovative drinks. This is the case, especially, at all-day restaurants and bars, which are a growing concept as restaurants fight for dayparts and profits in a penny-pinched industry.

Bar E&S Implication: specialty cold brew brewing containers and filters; carafes; higher-end nitrogen-infusion tanks; technology; and drafts for frothy cold brew coffee and beverages

Boozy Freezer Pops

On the heels of frosé, (frozen rose wine concoctions), some bars and restaurants now go well beyond the concept of a slushy, frozen daiquiri to make alcohol-infused pops for summertime specials. At the Eberhard in Dallas, last year’s summer cocktail menu, for example, featured a frozen vodka cocktail topped with a wine-infused ice pop.

Bar E&S Implication: extra freezer space; popsicle molds, blenders

Instagram-Worthy Cocktails

Instagram culture is here to stay. Just as chefs view the plating of everything they create through a social media lens, 80 percent of Kimpton bartenders said they would create a cocktail in part for its visual appeal on social media, too. These cocktails would include vibrant colors, unique vessels and inventive garnishes.

Bar E&S Implication: vintage cocktail shakers, pretty pots and other containers for displaying herbs at the bar, tools for creating intricate garnishes, vintage and unique glassware

Drink Your Vegetables

The vast majority (91 percent) of Kimpton bartenders say they plan to use vegetables in a cocktail in 2018, and not just in the garnish. Bartenders are embracing nontraditional vegetables like beets, carrots, green beans, butternut squash, corn and radishes in their cocktail creations.

Bar E&S Implication: traditional cooking equipment for roasting and preparing vegetables for different uses at the bar, along with traditional supplies like vegetable peelers and pairing knives

Funky Brews

There seems to be an upswing in German-style Gose and other sour beers, offering beer drinkers a crisp brew with a touch of tartness and herbal undertones.

Bar E&S Implication: restaurants and bars might have to expand their beer glassware to include Belgian-style goblets and different types of pint glasses

Box Wine

Once a cheap, college student staple now has become a shelf standby at more bars and restaurants. Winemakers are exploring alternative packaging beyond traditional bottles and corks to include Tetrapak containers and more bulk packaging, which can be set up with individual or larger-scale, beer-like taps for instant wine-by-the-glass pouring. These taps also help keep opened wine fresher and ready-to-serve for longer than just a day so operators can offer more (profitable) wines by the glass. Box and tapped wines appeals to customers too because they offer provide consumers more exposure to different varietals and wine experiences. Some restaurants and wine bars are even exploring the use of nontraditional vessels like edible glassware and repurposed household items like teapots, mini flowerpots and vases.

Bar E&S Implication: wine tap systems, nontraditional wine glasses

One More Trend: The Wine Bar Addition

Some high-end restaurants are opening adjacent wine bars, offering smaller food menus, affordable pricing and a casual way to access their brand, Andrew Freeman & Co., pointed out in its 2018 trend outlook. A good example of this is Wildair, an offshoot of Contra in New York City, which serves American fare with a focus on seasonal produce and natural wines. Other examples include Bar Crenn by Petite Crenn in Los Angeles, Little Pearl by Pineapple & Pearls in Washington, D.C., and Ronsky’s Wine Bar (an evening wine bar addition to Ronsky’s) outside of Boston. 

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