The new year always brings new traditions, goals, resolutions, and trends. With the past few years dominated by a global pandemic, we saw a rise in outings, parties, and more in 2022. Some bars and restaurants we’re finally flourishing with people and sales, while others are just getting back on their feet.
The mindset of people all over has changed. With health and wellness at the forefront of millions of minds, it’s not surprising that this will affect the beverage industry. Consumers have tuned into understanding what they want and desire. This type of thinking developed during the pandemic and isn’t going away anytime soon. In 2022, we saw a rise in agave spirits, canned cocktails, and delivery services skyrocketing, and it didn’t stop there. Will those trends continue to rise as we head into the new year? Let’s take a look at the industries most anticipated trends for 2023.
With the past few years that caused separation, consumers are looking for more simple experiences and memorable moments. Rather than hitting nightclubs and being around unrecognizable people, they want to spend time with friends and family, grabbing drinks and dinner. Making up for the lost time is pivotal. Bartenders are taking this as an opportunity to experiment with cocktail creation.
Mixologists will have more freedom to innovate and elevate their cocktails. This freedom invites bartenders to try new ideas and experiments to make the experience more positive. Table-side cocktails or using unusual ingredients can make more of a memorable occurrence—making you stand out from the competition.
We saw this trend start in 2022, and as the year unfolds, it will continue to grow. Consumers are more conscious about what they are drinking. For some, this will look like a sober curious lifestyle where low and no ABV spirits will flourish. For others, the focus will be on eco-friendly brands and sustainable practices.
A major trend in the new year is the “better for you and better for the planet” mentality. The spirits industry is taking note of this, and some brands have already become more transparent about their products. This transparency includes showcasing their environmental credentials and becoming more open about the ingredients in the product. Overall, consumers want to make sustainable choices. According to Bacardis Cocktail Trend Report 2023, “more than half (52%) of all respondents listed recyclable packaging as key to their liquor and spirit considerations followed by reducing single-use plastic.”
Because consumers have this focus on the planet, they are also supporting local brands and businesses in their area, and we will continue to see that rise throughout the year.
Flavors, textures, and colors will be all the rage this year. Consumers are looking beyond traditional cocktails and craving something more. Mixologists are able to push the boundaries when it comes to flavors because patrons are looking for fun and something different than the classics.
Spicy cocktails will surge during this year. According to Bacardis Cocktail Trend Report 2023, the spicy margarita “saw 48% growth in average monthly Google searches across markets between September 2021 and September 2022.” This statistic means this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Same with coffee-based cocktails—mixologists have been experimenting more and more with this. Yelp reported that espresso martinis were up nearly 300% in the first six months of 2021 vs. the same time period three years earlier.
With this newfound desire for fun ingredients, some bartenders have been experimenting with nostalgic flavors and sugary drinks to provide that feeling of comfort after the pandemic. Nostalgia is a major trend in all aspects of life, beauty, fashion, etc., so it’s no surprise we will see this in cocktails too.
Consumers want a fancier and more sophisticated cocktail experience. This hope will be an excellent opportunity to switch things up for the new year in a bar or restaurant. The use of high-quality ingredients allows bartenders to provide a sense of luxury. With this trend and a want for a more premium experience, bartenders have begun straying from overly garnished cocktails. Minimalist styles have caught the attention of people all over. Sometimes less is better.
The premium spirits category is booming. People are willing to spend more money on quality spirits, so they will continue to rise in popularity. Bacardi reported that in 2022, 76% of bartenders noticed the most premiumization within the tequila category. Agave spirits became highly loved in 2022—it won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
Low & No ABV
Drinking preferences are changing. The want for a sober-curious lifestyle will continue to grow. The market offers many options to allow those who aren’t currently drinking to participate in the social trend. Instead of drinking high-proof spirits, consumers have opted for a lower ABV, like aperitifs, liqueurs, and cordials. This style of drinking allows for control while still indulging in the act of drinking.
With a focus on health and wellness, people crave balance and moderation. For bartenders, this is an opportunity to switch up your cocktail-making style. Instead of overloading the drink with high-ABV spirits, opt for one and accompany it with a juice or sparkling soda. The population of these drinkers is growing, so it’s vital to meet the needs of everyone walking into your bar.