Non-Alcoholic Drinks are a New Bar Standard
Jan. 26, 2018 | 4
The next trend in healthy dining? Non-alcoholic drinks. Here’s why you should be adding well-crafted mocktails drinks and booze-free beers to your bar menu.
Health-conscious diners continue to educate themselves on the pros and cons of what they consume. The latest lesson: the health benefits of reducing one’s alcohol intake. The fact that liquor is high in calories and causes the metabolic process to slow down are the primary reasons behind the latest consumer trend.
Aware of its cons, consumers are substituting non-alcoholic drinks for real cocktails.
Drinkers on a diet aren’t the only ones opting for alcohol-free drinks, some people just don’t want a hangover the next day. Others are pregnant, underage, or refusing alcohol for personal reasons.
As the owner or manager of a bar, this is an interesting trend to notice. For the first time ever, there is a sizeable chunk of the population keen on imbibing creative nonalcoholic drinks. Similar to how vegetarianism impacts food producers and restaurants, this drinking trend is predicted to leave its mark on the beverage industry.
In 2018, make it a top priority to update your bar menu and POS with alcohol-free drinks.
Nonalcoholic Drinks Are the Most Exciting Drinks Trend
Distill Ventures—a British investment company for liquor and spirits producers—recently called the non-alcoholic drinks category “the most exciting trend in the drinks industry.” And the proof is in the bar menus: restaurants from Austin, Texas to New York City are perfecting their mocktails selection. On these menus, you won’t find brand-name sodas by Coca-Cola or Pepsi, but homemade sodas and well-crafted mocktails, instead.
Mocktails are just the tip of the iceberg; see below for a list of non-alcoholic drinks selected by the National Restaurant Association in their What’s Hot 2018 Culinary Forecast:
- House-made/artisan soft drinks
- Cold-brew coffee
- Gourmet lemonade (like house-made or freshly muddled ingredients)
- Locally- or house-brewed coffee
- Specialty iced teas (like southern-style or Thai-style)
- Specialty teas
The takeaway from this list is that moving forward, non-alcoholic drinks are going to be as interesting as refined cocktails. The best ones are going to be based on high-quality ingredients and teas, fresh fruits, exotically influenced flavors, and a surprising mix of spices (such as this Moroccan mojito).
Add Nonalcoholic Drinks to Your Bar Menu
When a group goes out for drinks, everyone should be able to order something exciting and unique, even customers ordering non-alcoholic beverages. "Just like a good cocktail, you need to create a drink that will enliven the senses," says Michael Bell, the director of food and beverage at Jack Dusty at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota in Sarasota, FL, which has a mocktail menu titled "Politely Abstain." "It's about making a drink that embodies an overall flavor, without allowing one singular flavor to control the taste."
For the most part, menu options tend to be plain and uninspired; reduced to water, soda, or juice. Adding specialty non-alcoholic drinks has a few benefits for your business:
- Your bar stands out from the competition.
- Your reputation as a trendsetter is cemented.
- Your sober customers will feel understood, and appreciate the consideration.
- Refined nonalcoholic drinks will get crowds talking to their friends and acquaintances.
- It’s an excuse to play with presentation techniques to encourage photo sharing on social media.
Even the beer industry is taking note. Well-known beer brewers like Heineken and Budweiser have debuted booze-free versions of their draughts. Heineken, the world’s second-largest brewer, revealed a nonalcoholic beer in May 2017, and Budweiser promised that by 2025, 20% of their choices would be low in or free of alcohol.
"The non-alcoholic quality beverage segment as a whole—wine, cocktails, etc.—is growing as well, so I just put two and two together," says Jeff Josenhans, the US Grant's lead mixologist, certified cicerone, and sommelier. " There’s really no reason you can’t drink craft beer at work in a non-alcoholic form."
The time and effort it takes to create a stellar list of non-alcoholic drinks is going to be worth it. Watering holes used to be the escape hatches of society, but today, they’re active social centers for the community. By offering alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, you become an all-inclusive stage. Join in on the wellness movement with well-crafted mocktails and 0% beers.
Jan. 26, 2018 | BY Emma Alois