Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Beverage Trends

Benchmark Hospitality Releases Beverage Trends

Benchmark Hospitality International released its Top Ten Beverage Trends for 2010. The beverage trends were released in response to requests following the distribution of the company’s popular annual dining trends.
“This is an exciting time for the beverage industry, with lots of positive changes occurring,” said Mary Watson-DeLauder, chief sommelier for Benchmark Hospitality International.  “Some of the changes are economically driven, some taste oriented and still others created out of necessity in response to changing palates and a new generation of consumers.”
The top ten trends are:
1.       Unoaked chardonnays are replacing the big oak wines of the past. Several wineries have backed off on oak completely to focus more attention on the fruit characteristics of the chardonnay grape.
2.       Sauvignon Blanc continues to gain popularity, with New Zealand leading the pack. California, Virginia, Chile and South Africa are producing great examples of this wine as well.
3.       More obscure grape varieties like Torrontes, Bonarda, Carmenere, Albarino and Chenin Blanc are being embraced today. These also tend to be less expensive alternatives.
4.       Champagne sales are down this year, but sales of sparkling wines are up. New and innovative cocktails and punches are making great use of these less expensive sparkling wines.
5.       Sangria is making a comeback – often mixing in less expensive wines currently on the market.
6.       Basic cocktails like martinis, mojitos, margaritas and sidecars are being revamped with fresh new ingredients such as herbs, spices, and unusual fruits and vegetables. House-made simple syrups are being infused with herbs and spices.
7.       Novelty is important. Bars are finding contemporary ways to serve traditional cocktails including, for example, wine popsicles.
8.       Beer dinners are growing in popularity, demonstrating the compatibility of beer with food. Beer is also working its way into cocktails, such as with beer margaritas.
9.       The slow food movement now includes enjoying locally produced beverages. All 50 states have at least one winery, and most produce herbs and spices for flavoring cocktails, vodkas and rums.
10.   The popularity of wine and wine-pairing classes is gaining for groups.

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