Drink Trends You Need To Know About for 2017

 

When it comes time to order a drink, some bar-goers stick with their tried and true favorite cocktails, while others are more interested in following the trends and expanding their horizons when they walk into the bar. These trendsetters seek out the latest and greatest in hopes of informing others of the most recent concoctions or getting that perfect Instagram picture to share with their friends. In the interest of luring these trendsetters into your bar and staying relevant in a competitive industry, we take a look at the trends rising to the forefront of the cocktail industry.

1. Vodka is Back-Vodka Cocktails

For a while, Vodka was frowned upon but is now making its way back into serious cocktails on bar menus this year. Bartenders are embracing this drink as a flexible and approachable ingredient choice. Vodka goes with more than tonic and bartenders are using their creativity to create a wider selection of Vodka based drinks.

Part of this resurgence can be credited to more interesting vodkas being produced. Vodka with complexity is making its way into the market and mixologists are responding. Brands such as Belvedere Unfiltered, St. George Green Chile and Citrus, and Absolut Elyx challenge the idea that vodka is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless liqueur.

2. Banana is the New Black-Banana Cocktails

Since 2016, Banana has been making its way into cocktails menus across the country in many forms. Whether it is as a liqueur, spirit, or actual fruit puree, don’t be surprised to see it in your drink. Bananas are available year-round and lend themselves well to being used in cocktails. In light of the recent tiki renaissance that has been happening over the past few years bananas have been gaining ground in bars everywhere including Chicago’s Lost Lake.

3. A Fresh Buzz-Coffee Cocktails

You may already be seeing this morning favorite making its way into the craft beer industry, and cocktails are not far behind. Soon you will see vodkas and whiskeys being bottled with cold-brew coffee as part of the mix. This is not the first time coffee and alcohol have been paired together. Who can forget classics like Irish coffee, or Kahlua and coffee but modern coffee cocktails go beyond adding a bit of booze to a cup of coffee and calling it a drink.

This combination of coffee shop and bar makes perfect sense. In many restaurants, bartenders are also in charge of making espresso drinks, and it is a good use for coffee that isn’t served during the day. Both the coffee and bar businesses are high-profit, but they’re only high profit for a short period of the day. So expect to see more and more of these dual purpose drinks being served from behind the same doors.

4. Tequila Mockingbird-The Tequila Resurgence

Americans are consuming more tequila than ever before.  In fact, tequila ranks right behind whiskey as the most popular distilled spirit in the United States. The trend is being driven by the production of higher-end tequilas such as Fortaleza, Casa Noble, and Astral. As a result, more cocktails that are tequila-based are making their way onto bar menus around the country.

The prevalence in tequila will leave its mark on the cocktail industry with a new resurgence of other agave based drinks such as Mezcal, a drink made from the Espadin agave plant that produces a unique smoky flavor that differentiates it from tequila.

5. Farm to Shaker-Fresh Ingredients

Over the past few years the country has turned its focus towards fresher and healthier ingredients in their meals, a trend which is beginning to catch on with cocktails as well. The days of sweet and sour mix being used for speed, efficiency, and flavor control are on their way out. Today’s bartenders and bar managers are embracing the idea of fresh, healthy ingredients being used to take their cocktails to the next level.

In certain areas of the country where it is summer year round, expect to see cocktails with local flavors highlighting the citrus, fruit, veggies, and herbs, readily available and indigenous to the area.

6. Storytelling

More and more drinkers are focusing on the experience of drinking and less on just getting a buzz. Consumers increasingly want a story behind their cocktails and bartenders are responding by using regional spirits brewed using ancient recipes, or by creating cocktails to match the drinker’s own recent experiences.

People are fascinated by drinks and the bartenders who serve them. In 2014 Jack Daniels released a series of videos on Youtube highlighting the craziest tales bartenders around the country had to share. By doing this they were giving consumers the stories and history they wanted while making them synonymous with their whiskey.

7. Interpretive Drinking-Performance Cocktails

The best bartenders have always understood the usefulness of theater, without going over the top (we’re looking at you Tom Cruise). So in 2017 be prepared to see more and more theater in the glass, as mixologists seek out more unique and interesting ingredients.  Ingredients like the Butterfly Pea flower, a flower that is ph sensitive and will change the color of a drink when mixed with citrus. Another flower to be on the lookout for is the Szechuan Button, an edible flower that delivers an electric hit to the consumer when chewed on. The flower is electrifying and hits you on a molecular level causing you to experience mouth tingling.

8. Have You Seen This Cocktail-Nameless Cocktails

One of the strangest yet most intriguing trends of 2017 is cocktails being based on emotions. Some bars, like Trick Dog in San Francisco, are forgoing names for their cocktails in favor of moods, scents, color, and even astrological signs. Order a red drink to stimulate confidence or black for discipline. Bars that are using scents such as smoked pine or cut grass, are doing so to evoke nostalgic feelings of certain times of the year or places with fond memories to keep them customers coming back for more. It might not be a trend for all bars but expect to see it popping up more and more throughout the year.

9. The Up and Comers- New Centers for Creativity

Sure, Manhattan will always be one of leaders in cocktail trends. But don’t count out emerging cities like Brooklyn, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Charleston, San Diego, and Houston. These cities have cheaper rents and thirsty young people are flocking to them. With the influx of young adults, be looking for new bars and new cocktails to make their way to the forefront of the industry.

10. Frosé All Day-Frozen Drinks Will Go High End

Frozen drinks have always been a fun way of changing up drinks but recently bartenders have been upping the frozen drinks game, translating into expertly prepared frozen cocktails. It started with frosé, which is exactly what it sounds like, a frozen Rosé drink. But now the frozen drink industry has taken off in a way it never has before. Upscale drinks are being turned into refreshing frozen libations with the use of tools like liquid nitrogen, turbo icemakers, and the always dependable slushy machine.

11. Guilty Pleasure Drinks

For a time, 70s, 80s, and 90s style cocktails were not an option in craft cocktail bars. They were frowned upon for their use of artificial ingredients and thought to be too sweet and unsophisticated. Bartenders are now revisiting these guilty pleasure drinks and re-imagining them with fresh, quality ingredients and transforming these decade old cocktails into delicious, yet well-executed drinks. Craft cocktail bars around the country are now showcasing adaptations on these retro drinks and you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of them in the coming year.

While a nameless cocktail might not be the right fit for your bar, you might want to consider adding a few of these trends to your bar’s menu. Staying relevant in this industry can mean the difference between a great year and being forced to close your doors. Experiment with adding a few vodka based cocktails to your lineup or maybe even a color changing mixture to gather a few ooh’s and ahh’s. If you are willing to do so you will have a better chance staying at the industry forefront in 2017.

Coffeehouses: How to design a great coffee shop layout

Are you opening a new coffeehouse?  You know your beans, you’ve got a supply of flavored syrups, you’ve rented out a great coffee shop location, and now…you need to lay out your overall look and design.  Here are some pointers for your coffeehouse design.

Coffeehouse espresso1. Plan an efficient service area. When your guests walk through that door, you want them to instinctively know where they order their lattes.  Make your menu easy-to-spot and read, and always staff a friendly associate who can greet them, take their order, and process their payment quickly.  Also make it really obvious where your customer will wait for their order and where they’ll be picking it up at (usually the other end of the counter).  Great signage will aid in the customer’s overall ordering experience.  Think out the placement of your behind-the-counter equipment and supplies, so your coffee baristas are as efficient as possible.  Is there an area with napkins nearby?  What about hot cup sleeves?  While there are a lot of reasons why someone may walk into your coffee shop, everyone who does expects great and efficient service.

2.  Know your brand, and set the mood accordingly. Do you want to be the cheerful coffee shop business folk stop on their way to work to wake up every morning?  Do you want to offer a chill place for writers and creatives to come and spend hours doing work?  Do you want to be the social hangout for young coffee connoisseurs, or a great place for college students to come to study?  Maybe you are mom-friendly and targeting families with young kids along.  Choose what niche in the market you’re going to serve and know what mood you want to set for your coffee guzzling guests.  This is the most important part of choosing a design layout. It will also help you with your overall coffeehouse marketing once you launch.

3. Colors and lighting need to match the mood. If you’re aiming to be the spot people go to wake up, then you may want to try bright lighting against yellow or orange walls.  If you’re going for the laid back environment, you may want dimmer lights and darker burgundy and green walls for a more cozy feel.  Let your brand dictate the mood of your accessories and artwork, too.

4. Look at the space’s unique features. Do you have a fireplace?  How about a bay window?  Are you setting up a stage area for local musicians?  Or showing off some large screen TVs?  Where are your electrical outlets for guests to charge laptops?  Looking at the different areas or focal features of your particular room will help define where your guests will want to sit.  You will also need to decide where you will place your wireless router and if you want to offer free Wi-Fi that is unsecured or require a password.

5.  Choose the right furniture layout. Once you know what your mood is and have picked out all the unique features to your space, it’s time to shop for the right coffee shop seating for your new place!  Most coffeehouses choose a mixture of restaurant tables and chairs, along with lounge seating for a more comfortable feel.  We recommend setting up conversational clusters of furniture around your designated unique features, then filling in extra space with the tables and chairs.  For more variation, try mixing some high top bar tables with your standard tables.  While most coffee drinkers will need just a small 18″ or 24″ table top for their mug and muffin, don’t forget to use at least one or two large tables to accommodate business meetings or study groups in your place – maybe these are set toward the back or in an out-of-the-way section of the room.  By thinking about your seating in groups or clusters, you can provide separate areas to create a quiet coffeehouse vibe for people working on their computers but also offer a social space for groups of friends trying to catch up after a long day of work.  Once you have a layout in mind, consider the seating count and make sure it’s a number you like.  If you want fewer or more seats, then revise your plan until it’s just right.

6. Decide if you will offer outdoor seating. Sidewalk cafes are quite popular, so if you have the room and can get a permit, try adding some small outdoor tables to your overall design, or forgo the cafe tables and simply offer some relaxing Adirondack chairs.  These chairs have a wide enough arm to make sipping coffee and reading the morning news easy and comfortable.  Outdoor seating can increase the total number of people you can serve at a time and also create another cluster of seats to give your guests the great conversational space they’re looking for from their local coffee shop.

When designing your space, just ask yourself if you would be comfortable grabbing your morning espresso at your new place.  Most likely, if you get a great feeling walking through the doors, your guests will, too!

Coffee Cafes: A Hot Trend for Churches

A church buying up cafe table tops, bar stools, and dining chairs?  Yes, it does happen!

Building community and attracting new audiences are two very important objectives for many churches, regardless of denomination.  Many churches across the U. S. (and globally) have acted on a growing trend to help address these goals:  open a cafe or coffee house inside the church.  Depending on your church community’s own goals, a coffee house could also be a much-needed revenue stream for a declining membership or growing capital needs.

We live in a Starbucks world

Chances are, when your congregation walks out your chapel doors on Sunday morning, they are heading to the nearest Starbucks or local coffee house to get their fix before the rest of the day.  Or perhaps, they came to church holding their white to-go cup adorned with that famous green mermaid.  Younger generations, especially, feel comfortable in a cafe atmosphere and often include a weekly, if not daily, visit to a cafe or coffee house.  Bringing this atmosphere to a church can make the Sunday ritual a little less intimidating or threatening to some, and can offer a convenience factor to those coffee connoisseurs in your congregation.  If you’re reading this, you are probably already tasting your drink of choice – whether it’s a chilled frappuccino, a frothy cappuccino with your favorite flavor shot, or a bold cup of espresso.  Even tea drinkers find comfort at a cafe, and many serve up smoothies for those looking for a fruity taste instead (which is also a great kids’ choice for younger families).

Coffee hour can build community

Imagine your sermon ends, and people don’t rush out the door.  Instead, they chat with their neighbors over coffee in your narthex, or a church-run separate cafe.  Imagine Bible Study ends, but the conversation continues over a cappuccino or hot tea.  Imagine a pastor reaching out to get to know someone in his fellowship, and being able to offer a cup of joe in a relaxed atmosphere while trying to do so.  Having a resource of this kind inside your chapel’s walls can be a great boost to your own congregation and provide ample opportunities to bring people together and inspire people to truly connect.  Cut out the small talk about the weather and the “I’m good” automatic responses, and really get to know your church-goers a little better.

Integrating technology will modernize your church

Coffee houses don’t just sell coffee.  They have Wi-fi, promote new music, and keep people connected – in a more global way than previously mentioned.  To do a cafe right, you need to offer free Wi-fi to your customers, so they can bring in their laptops and surf the ‘net or do other work in the peacefulness a church cafe can inhabit.  You can also stream contemporary Christian hits and perhaps offer free downloads of your own choir’s musical performances.  At times, bring in local musicians to host live events and draw more customers.  If your church’s bookstore is flailing, consider linking up with an online book retailer to bring the great written copy onto someone’s Kindle or Nook.  (Coffee houses can also inspire people to sit down and actually open up that book they’ve been meaning to read, and could work well in conjunction with a church bookstore or lending library.)  If your church is too conservative to try to bring in modern elements to its sermon, a cafe can be a great extension of your services and attract a less-conservative crowd.  If you’re already breaking down barriers with A/V additions to your Sunday mornings, then a cafe will fit into your personality and be a smooth transition for your audience.

Sundays aren’t the only days people can come to church

Does your church have activities throughout the week?  Do you want to be more visible all week long?  Having open cafe hours can not only just attract outsiders for some coffee (and money for your church’s revenue stream), but it can be a great perk to your staff, volunteers, and people coming to church throughout the week for activities or private confessionals/prayers.  Many churches recommend hiring a few key staff who are responsible for the cafe, but others can operate it solely through the hands of volunteers.  Finding what works for you, your church, your goals, and your budget will be beneficial.

If you can envision a cafe in your church, already enjoy the aroma of the beans wafting through your chapel, hear the clink of coffee mugs and friendly conversation, and begin to see the benefits of how a church cafe could promote a happier congregation, attract new/younger church-goers, and boost your fundraising efforts, then we hope this article was helpful and wish you success in your exciting new venture!