THE CRAFT

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.

From Cocktails to Craft Beer: 2020's Top 6 Drink Trends

  • by: Maggie Mahar
  • On: 2, Nov 2020
24 min read

By now, everyone knows that 2020 has been quite the year for bars and restaurants. That hasn’t stopped new trends from emerging in terms of alcohol. It’s imperative to capture the sales at the end of the year by recognizing these trends and realizing their impact on the future. While your particular establishment might not need to serve all this trending alcohol, it’s a good practice to be aware of what’s happening in the world of bartending. So, without further adieu, here are 2020's top 6 drink trends. 

Custom Cocktails are a Fan Favorite

A lot of people had extra time on their hands to come up with their own concoctions at home. For better or worse, these people are bringing their favorite recipes into bars and asking the bartender to make it for them. While your initial reaction might be to roll your eyes and tell your customers to stick to the menu, a fair number of bars have gotten increased sales for being willing to try something new. This is especially beneficial for bars and restaurants with a high level of social media interaction with their customers. That way, you can establish fan favorites, set rules on drinks, and come up with some ideas on the pricing model. Other bars are just trying to ensure it doesn’t get out of hand and cost them money, which is a fair take on the situation. Perhaps take this into consideration when coming up with profitable holiday cocktail ideas for the season ahead. 

2020 Drink Trends

Hard Seltzers Continue to Rise

One of the biggest drink trends in 2020 has been the rise and acceptance of hard seltzers. While this might come as no surprise to people that have sold out of White Claw at their bar or restaurants, there is a new wrinkle in the situation. Major companies like Budweiser have thrown their hat in the ring to become the new favored seltzer. Now, bars and restaurants are scrambling to maintain an inventory that includes everyone’s favorites. However, they’re having trouble with that due to the suddenly flooded market. You will have to make a decision about which flavors to carry or determine which brands you’ll carry, and that could have an impact on your business. Also, check with your vendors to see which seltzers they can reliably stock in your bar because supply has been a major issue all year.

Mead Hits it Big with this Year's Drink Trends

More and more customers are looking to try the latest craze, and this year it’s mead. Mead is a honey wine, and it’s growing more popular by the day. Craft meaderies have sprung up in cities and some brands are famous enough to be requested by patrons by name. The best idea is to see if you have a local meadery that is willing to supply your bar or restaurant with some of their premium alcohol. As long as you can work out a budget and make sure that it’s worth selling on your end, it can be a moderately lucrative item. Of course, you should certainly gauge the interest of your customers before you throw it onto the menu without thinking. Also, if your establishment is not familiar with mead, it might be time to throw in a brief training overview for the staff before introducing it.

2020 Drink Trends to Watch

Brown Spirits are Popular Again

In a year like 2020, it should come as no surprise that brown spirits are becoming more popular again. The demand for alcoholic beverages like tequila and whiskey is rising a great deal as people have had the time to savor the flavors of these delicious alcohols. Interestingly enough, collectors have found a similar outcome for alcohol, where brown liquors, especially whiskeys, are being bought by people interested in storing the liquor for a rainy day. The high-end liquors have seen a vastly increased demand, and that has put a strain on the suppliers that can’t keep up with demand.

Craft Beers Experience Growth

Much like mead, craft beers have also continued their rise in popularity. Part of that is due to more people taking part in making their own beer this year. The other portion of that interest comes from people that love buying distinct beers with unique mixtures and flavors. These beers are a lot more expensive than a bottle of suds from the local bar, but customers are willing to pay for them. Bars and restaurants should continue to work with local craft breweries to get their hands on some of the limited releases. That might be hard if it’s a brewery that serves its own customers, though. Still, craft beers are on the rise, and you should do your utmost to position your business to capture some of that market, if possible.

2020 Beverage Trends

Delivery and Takeout

One of the more interesting drink trends of 2020 is not related to the imbibing of liquors. Instead, this year has seen a vast increase in the number of people that are requesting takeouts and deliveries for their alcoholic beverages. To be clear, this is not a service like going to a liquor store. The deliveries and takeouts are being requested for bars and restaurants. Since many areas have been suffering as a result of COVID, local governments have seen fit to allow these actions to take place with fewer restrictions. On one hand, these deliveries and takeouts can help a bar push more of their alcohol sales and food sales. Who wants to just drink their favorite cocktail without a meal? On the other hand, bars and restaurants have had to suddenly adjust their business models to take these orders and ensure they are going to people of age. It’s not something that every business is partaking in, either. Still, this could be a new norm in the making, and your bar might want to get out in front of it.

There are several trends that bar and restaurant owners need to know about for 2020. From the types of alcohol that people are drinking to how they’re taking it home with them, you have to know so you can be prepared. Nobody knows what the future will hold, but these trends seem firmly cemented, for now. So, you can safely try to make them work with your business model.

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