Looking ahead to alcohol trends in 2012

on 19/12/11 at 12:36 pm

Industry

This is a trend we're all for!

For those of us who concern ourselves with the world of beverage alcohol, 2011 was nothing if not a most interesting year.

After years of struggling sales, Cognac suddenly came roaring back. In the face of an economic crunch, craft beer grew more eclectic, more expensive and overwhelmingly more popular. Mixologists began raiding their pantries for all sorts of culinary cocktail ingredients. Vodka makers found a bevy of new flavorings, from smoked salmon to cupcake frosting. And Champagne, of all wines, continued its comeback by building on its unexpectedly strong growth in 2010.

After all of that — and so much more — we started to wonder what surprises 2012 could possibly have in store. So we asked some well-known drinks professionals what they see rising on the horizon.

Sandy Block, vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods: “Not sure if I’m behind the curve, but we’re seeing rising interest in aged tequilas [añejo and reposado] in cocktails, providing the spirit has enough zip, structure and pure agave flavor to balance the sweet elements.”

Doug Frost, wine consultant: “Portugal may be due for its coming-out party. The relatively cooler conditions along its coast create wines with a bit more freshness and crispness than many of Iberia’s other offerings, [and] as consumer awareness lags behind quality, prices for Portuguese wines are very good.”

Jim Meehan, head mixologist at New York’s PDT and author of the new “The PDT Cocktail Book”: “Cocktails on tap, wine on tap, vermouth on tap — 10 years after many bars abandoned the soda gun, it seems as though many are growing trigger happy.”

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