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Cheers Weekly
Ten Beverage Alcohol Trends for 2017 and Beyond

Consumer taste continues to evolve. Recent industry-defining beverage alcohol categories like bourbon, IPA and rosé have begun to splinter off into subcategories. Different takes on these styles have emerged, including regional focuses or reimagined recipes, while countries not normally known for these beverages have entered into the competitive fray.
With all that in mind, here are 10 trends (established or emerging) that will define the alcohol industry in 2017.

The Rosé Category Broadens
Rosé will remain hot in 2017 as it continues to transition from a hot-weather wine a year-round top seller. And as the category attracts more attention and expands, consumers will look for more than typical sweet Provenance rosé.
Like the Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé from South Africa, a top-ten selling imported rosé in America. “It’s uncommon to have a cabernet sauvignon rosé, but that’s our point of difference,” explains Adam Mason, winemaker, Mulderbosch. “We think it’s a slightly richer rosé, not in the steely style.”
It’s also darker in color than most. Still, Mulderbosch did not want to be way off the rosé bell curve. The company made sure their offering remained light like those of Provenance that have set the market.
Mulderbosch makes a dry rosé, but Mason believes U.S. consumers are comfortably up to speed on that style. And that it’s South African rosé, not exactly common, should not be a consumer turnoff. If anything it’s a unique point of variety. And, at the end of the day, “once consumers are staring at a wall of rosé, what informs their decision is price,” Mason says. He believes the $13-14 SRP of Mulderbosch rosé is a sweetspot.
Offbeat rosé is on the menu at Molyvos, an upscale Greek restaurant in Manhattan. Wine Director Kamal Kouiri is showcasing a dozen rosés from Greece. “They run the full range of style, from dry to fruity to sparkling, covering any palate,” Kouiri says.
“Some people think rosé is only made in Provenance and Bordeaux, but others are now looking for new and different rosés.”
These wines represent the pride of variety in Greek winemaking,” he adds. “Greek rosé is something you can really enjoy while getting a sense of place.”

IPAs Continue to Diversify
No doubt the IPA remains the most popular craft beer style. American consumers love bold flavors and the bitter, fruity, increasingly juicy IPA remains king.
While the IPA craze continues, it’s also segmenting. There are session IPA, black IPA, red IPA, white IPA, double IPA, triple IPA — whatever your palate prefers, there’s a style to match. And that increasingly includes regional variants.
West Coast IPAs were the first regional variant to go big. This super-hoppy style was at the forefront of the current craft boom and was what first attracted many new drinkers to microbrews. The shamelessly hoppy West Coast IPA is what many people think of when they imagine IPAs.
But what’s a west-coast trend without an east-coast competitor? New England IPAs have taken the eastern seaboard by storm and are expanding westward. These hazy, yeasty beers have the complexion of orange juice and extreme fruity citrus flavors. The beer that took this from a new style to a full-blown trend is Heady Topper from The Alchemist Brewery.
“When I started brewing hazy IPAs, people loved the flavors and certainly didn’t mind the haze that was present in a number of them,” says John Kimmich, The Alchemist brewer and co-founder. “We have spent many, many years educating the beer drinking community on the reasons why cloudy is okay. It was not always easy; people used to slam our beers in reviews on the appearance side.”
Those days are over. Heady Topper is commonly ranked among America’s top craft beers. It’s inspired a regional IPA movement that, as rumor has it, includes some brewers scraping yeast off the bottom of Heady Topper cans in an attempt to replicate the famously hazy beer.
Other regional variants have emerged. The Northwest IPA of Oregon and Washington “tends to be fuller bodied and have bigger malt backbones than the drier, less malty and less sweet West Coast-style IPAs,” writes Aubrey Laurence of
As craft breweries continue to fight for consumer attention, expect more IPA takes to emerge, with other regions in America claiming certain styles as their own. “I think a part of what makes craft beer so special is the little differences that can develop regionally,” says Kimmich of The Alchemist. “There are certainly quite a few IPA’s to choose from nowadays. I think you will see the cream thrive, while the less skilled will be pushed aside. You cannot brew a mediocre IPA anymore and get away with it for very long.”
Breakthru’s Nick Nistico on Innovative Bartending
Nick Nistico is Breakthru Beverage Florida’s Beverage Program Specialist, as well as an award-winning mixologist. He won a number of bartending competitions from 2013 to 2014, and was recently awarded the Best in Show medal from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. I recently spoke to Nick about his views of the on-premise industry and what will drive sales and innovation forward in the coming years.
Beverage Wholesaler: What are the biggest industry trends currently impacting the on-premise?
Nick Nistico
: If I had to spotlight one, I would say lower ABV Apertivo, Amaro and Sherry-based cocktails. Spritzes can be enjoyed in numbers while remaining responsible. With so many options for cocktails and nightlife venues, I find a lot of guests like to visit multiple bars in one evening and enjoy a small bite along the way. Three-hour dinners are phasing out as guests look to maximize their experiences in an evening.
Beyond that, our industry continues to follow the culinary industry. It’s all about farm-to-table — driven by fresh ingredients. People want to know where things come from. When you travel, you want to drink local.
BW: What are some of the most innovative and creative mixologist trends you’ve seen lately?
: 3D printed garnish, sensory and aromatic-driven cocktail experiences, creative glassware and delivery vessels continue to impress guests.
Beyond that, our industry continues to follow the culinary industry. It’s all about farm-to-table – driven by fresh ingredients. People want to know where things come from. When you travel, you want to drink local.


Mexican authorities seized 10,000 gallons of illegal alcohol manufactured for sale at resorts in Cancun. The action came after an investigative report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which began looking into tainted alcohol sales
after a Wisconsin woman’s death earlier this year.

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Requirements: Seven to ten years of alcohol industry management experience.

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