Alcoholic beverages can enhance the restaurant experience, and the National Restaurant Association’s latest research shows artisan liquor, locally produced wine and beer, and culinary cocktails are among the top 20 restaurant menu trends in 2011. The Association surveyed more than 1,500 American Culinary Federation professional chefs members – on which food and drink items will be hot trends in restaurants next year.
“Just like food trends, alcohol trends mirror overall consumer sentiment. More diners are interested in where their meals come from and how they are made. Smaller local producers, fresh ingredients, professional mixologists and food pairings all show up as hot trends for next year and we expect to see many new and exciting creations on cocktail menus, wine lists and beer taps in the nation’s restaurants,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association.
Micro-distilled liquor is ranked the number one alcohol trend (number 11 on the list of all 226 survey items) with 74 percent of the chefs calling it a hot trend. Culinary cocktails made with fresh ingredients, beer-food pairings, the concept of mixology, craft beer, regional cocktails, gluten-free beer and organic wine illustrate that consumers are seeking a more sophisticated experience when selecting beverages with their meals – and restaurants deliver. All of these items are found among the top 50 trends in the survey.
The National Restaurant Association’s International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB) will delve deeper into these trends next spring. IWSB, to be held May 22-23, 2011, at Chicago’s McCormick Place, will gather brewers, vintners and distillers, leading beverage experts, beverage alcohol buyers and more in one exclusive area where attendees have the opportunity to interactively explore the latest trends. Visit www.winespiritsbeer.org for more information.
IWSB 2011 will be held in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show – the industry’s largest and most comprehensive trade show. NRA Show 2011 will be held May 21-24. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org/show.