Spirits panel: Diners willing to try new flavors when drinking alcohol

Spirits panel: Diners willing to try new flavors when drinking alcohol

CHICAGO National Restaurant Association [3] Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Innovative gins and new flavors of rum, wines from outside the Rioja region of Spain, and growing consumer demand for draft beer are among the emerging trends, they said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Speakers included Liza Zimmerman, a wine educator and writer; Noah Rothbaum, an author and analyst of spirits trends; and Stephen Beaumont, a writer and beer-trends analyst. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Their session was held during the NRA show’s International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event, which debuted this year. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Since the market is “saturated” with vodkas, spirits manufacturers are developing new gins and rums to move away from that market in hopes of creating “the next supercategory,” Rothbaum said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Absinthe [4], which was reintroduced in the United States only a few months ago, already enjoys a huge market “flooded with new brands,” he said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Drinks made with egg whites or whole eggs have become more popular and will attract more cocktail drinkers in the future, Rothbaum said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

An emerging trend involves an untapped market: whiskey and women. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

More women are drinking such brown spirits as whiskey and rye, Rothbaum said, which leaves the field open to restaurant operators to market brown spirits to women. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Operators also can target women with different beers because it’s a fallacy that women don’t enjoy that beverage, Beaumont said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

“Chicks do dig beer,” he said, and they’re more experimental than men in embracing craft brews and imports. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

They also drink more dark beer than men, Beaumont said, but they don’t like to order large servings. Women tend not to order full pints because they’re harder to hold, he said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

One “undeniable trend” is the growing demand for draft beer, Beaumont said. Consumers can’t drink draft beer at home, and so they order it in bars restaurants, which can generate the “highest profits” from their bar operations by offering draft beer, he said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Beer drinkers overall are more willing to experiment with new beers than they have in the past, he added. For home consumption they’ll buy the same brands of beer they always have, but when they go out they want something different, he said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

That’s why imports and craft beers do well in restaurants, Beaumont said. The beer costs more than mass-produced domestic beer, but consumers regard higher-end beer as an affordable luxury, and “they worry about the consequences later” of paying more for it. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

In the wine segment, Chilean wines are “hot” now, but there’s a movement toward serving wines from outside Spain’s popular Rioja region and lesser-known Portuguese wines, Zimmerman said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

South [5] American wines are more popular because they’re “super values,” she said, and wines from Croatia and Greece are becoming more appealing to diners. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

A trend toward serving locally grown wine “has become huge,” Zimmerman said, and California and southern France lead the way in producing organic wine. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

U.S. drinkers have accepted blended wines, and they’re also more interested in “good food wines” that have higher acidity, she said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

As with beer and whiskey, there’s a myth involving wine and women, she said, and it’s that they drink sweeter or lighter wines. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Wine consumption so far has been “insulated” from the current economic downturn, she said, and diners are still buying $300 bottles of wine. But as fewer people go out to eat, they also might change their drinking habits and buy fine wine at retail shops, where it costs less than at a restaurant, to drink with meals at home, Zimmerman said. —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the

Speeches, soirees highlight NRA confab [6] —Just as diners have acquired a taste for flavorful and exotic meals, they’ve developed more sophisticated palates for spirits, beer and wine, said speakers at an education session on trends in alcohol during the