In Food + Drink

2020 Drinks Trends: Here’s What You’ll Be Sipping This Year

The drinks business is a fashion business with specific alcohols forever going in and out of style.

So what’s on trend this year? Pink proseccos, flavoured mineral waters and exotic gins are among the drinks to look out for.

With new guidelines from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) saying people should drink “no more than 10 standard drinks per week” to reduce the health risks from alcohol, many new releases will also be on the healthy side of the spectrum.

Here’s what else to expect.

Mocktails will be all the rage

Image: ALTD / supplied

Look out for more nojitos and nogronis – and a host of other low-alcohol or no-alcohol cocktails.

With declining alcohol consumption (particularly among millennials) and the continued growth of wellness culture, more bars will be offering increased ranges of healthy, but good looking, cocktails.

Look out for drinks made with non-alcoholic spirits brands like Seedlip, ALTD and Lyre’s, and mixed drinks using Fever Tree flavours.

InterContinental Sydney’s Cortile Lounge bar manager Max Babajev created a zero-alcohol cocktail menu focused on craftsmanship and flavour rather than alcohol content. “Building balance in a cocktail without alcohol allows creative thinking and a deeper understanding of each ingredient,” says Babajev.

To help customers navigate their stores, the BWS chain is highlighting lifestyle products which are low alcohol, no alcohol, low carb, low sugar, no sugar, mid-strength, organic, vegan, gluten-free and preservative-free.

Image: Fever Tree / supplied

Vanessa Rowed, head of marketing at BWS, says: “Australian lifestyles are evolving, and as our customer’s tastes and choices change, so does our range. In the last five years, there has been a distinct move towards low and no alcohol drinks.”

Former Sydney barman Tim Triggs has jumped on the bandwagon in launching ALTD Spirits – a bespoke collection of alcohol-free spirits in celebration of Australia’s wild and local produce. All are sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

“The concept of ALTD (pronounced altered) was to take an alternative approach to alcohol-free drinking,” Triggs said. “We didn’t want to try to mock-up traditional alcoholic flavours like gin or rum, but rather, we wanted to celebrate all the amazing and unusual native ingredients that we have here in Australia.”

This trend will also see a growth in sale of alcohol-free wines under labels like Edenvale and McGuigan Zero.

Hard seltzers will be in demand

Image: Truly Hard Seltzer / supplied

The hard seltzer category was all the rage in the US in 2019, and where the US leads, Australia often follows.

Hard seltzers, which are sparkling waters blended with alcohol and other flavourings, are usually low in calories and sugar, and with an alcohol by volume of between 4 per cent and 6 per cent. The category has appeal to younger, health conscious drinkers.

Leading US brands include White Claw and Truly Hard Seltzer. White Claw comes in five flavours including black cherry, and mango; while Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer features flavours like pear and elderflower. Truly, owned by Boston Beer, has a 13-strong range of flavours.

The trend for the alcoholic versions of hard seltzers has grown in tandem with a rise in sales of zero ABV seltzers.

Wines from obscure countries will get airtime

As consumers get more confident in their wine knowledge, they continually look to expand their vinous horizons. That means sales of food-friendly grape varieties like gruner veltiner, furmint and lagrein will almost certainly be on the rise.

Sales of Slovenian furmint rose by 159 per cent in 2019 at British supermarket chain Waitrose, which recently launched a range of lesser-known wines, including an arinto from Portugal and a cannonau from Sardinia.

Expect to see wines from Central and Eastern Europe given more space on Australian wine lists this year, and more frequently offered by the glass.

Look out for bottles from Croatia, Romania and Slovenia, the latter being home to a plethora of orange wines. Also look out for more natural wines from the former Russian republic of Georgia.

Sour drinks will replace sugar drinks

Image: Warner’s / supplied

The war against sugar continues and sour flavours look set to step up in 2020.

The popularity of fizzy fermented green tea and other flavoured kombucha drinks is poised to grow with tongue-tingling refreshment pairing well with increasingly popular fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.

Expect to see sour ingredients like rhubarb, hibiscus and tamarind becoming more common.

The latest entry to the crowded Australian spirits market is Warner’s, the UK’s No.1 super-premium gin brand. It released the UK’s first rhubarb gin in 2014.

The company creates its nine gins on-site in a 200-year-old barn on Falls Farm in Northamptonshire, which has been in the family for generations and is still operated as a cattle farm.

Local ingredients will be favoured

Following in the footsteps of drinks like Tas Saffron’s Grower’s Own saffron gin and McHenry’s Tasmanian Sloe Gin, made from locally foraged sloe berries, local flavours will be very much to the fore.

Consumers are increasingly enjoying cocktails created with locally produced spirits, mixed with other locally grown ingredients.

Tourists, too, seek out locally brewed craft beers, boutique wines and artisan spirits.

Prosecco will get a pink tint

Image: Mgg Vitchakorn / Unsplash

Technically the Italian sparkling wine known as prosecco can only be white and must be made from the juice of the glera grape. Lots of prosecco producers, however, also make sparkling rosé wines, often using pinot noir grapes.

Coming soon after a change in the rules are pink bubblies actually labelled as Prosecco using a blend of up to 15 per cent red wine. Prosecco rosato will be made in the spumante style, which is a higher pressure, better fizz than the fizzante offerings.

In Australia, Brown Brothers and Dal Zotto are among the local producers making “pink” prosecco.

(Lead images: Kim Daniels & Cody Chan / Unsplash) 

Published 28 January, 2020