BOOZY TRENDS: More Thoughtful Drinking for 2017

The overarching trend is that we are drinking less but we’re drinking way BETTER – whether it’s wine, beer or spirits.

Let’s start with WINE TRENDS and then move on to spirits and beer.

We’re Spending More On Wine (Source: Wine Enthusiast)

My wine guru, Luciana Ramsey, is taking me from the basement of red wines to the pinnacle. I have seen the light and am adjusting my budget to make way for beautiful bottles of Mascarello Barolos. Luciana may be bad for my wallet but she has excellent taste in wine and food!!

  • 20% of high frequency wine drinkers are dining out more often and 24% are spending more on wine
  • Even millennials are spending more: 17% paid over $20 for a bottle, compared to 10% of all drinkers

Italian eateries connect wine and food most frequently

  • 64% of high frequency wine drinkers are likely to order wine with Italian food vs. 56% for steakhouses (Japanese and sushi restaurants come in last)


  • This is the number one factor prompting diners to order wine
  • Most restaurants I go to have doubled or tripled their wine-by-the-glass offerings

Fastest growing categories

  • Prosecco – by 2020 consumption will grow by 13.6%. Considered an “everyday luxury”, “less serious” than champagne
  • Red blends from California
  • New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
  • French rose

Grocery Store Wine Selections Go High-End

  • Pavilions, in Orange County, has added a 500-bottle walk-in cooler stocked with California’s most prestigious wine labels. They also have 100 wine stewards on staff and do training every 8 weeks with sommeliers and whiskey ambassadors.
  • Bringing an expanded selection of alcohol to the front of the store is going to be a big trend.

Screwcaps are becoming the norm

  • Not turning people off
  • Sommeliers especially like them for wine by-the-glass and banquets

Cans becoming more popular

  • Especially with millennials
  • Wine industry experts consider them a fad

Bota Box

Read on below for more on spirits and beer trends as well as a heads up on what will be the trendiest new bar to open in NYC this summer: the Aviary from Chicago’s Alinea. It will open on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental. $30 cocktails anyone? Make sure you check out the video below.

The Aviary coming to NYC this summer


Smoky cocktails

  • The Smoked Manhattan at the Beatrice Inn (photo above) is one of my favorites.
  • One of the most popular tools in bars these days is a smoking gun, a handheld device that blows smoke into bottles, glasses and decanters, and adds one of today’s most sought-after flavors to drinks.


More Amari


  • Every good restaurant is currently upping their selection of Amari.
  • S/O to Lilia in Brooklyn where I first saw a serious lineup on the menu.
  • My favorite remains the Nonino. Only problem: high in calories!!


Darker spirits

  • Smokier scotches and mezcals join the currently popular bourbons and ryes


Vodka makes a comeback among cocktail cognoscenti

  • Can’t say I have seen this firsthand but per The Guardian, it’s something we need to keep an eye on. The newer craft brands e.g. Tito’s, Absolut Elyx, Karlsson’s Gold and Aylesbury Duck are the ones making inroads into menus at craft cocktail bars
  • Vodka is moving away from flavors and shifting its marketing focus back to authenticity and provenance.
  • I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for the moment. However, I’m still seeing more bourbon and other brown spirits versus vodka on influential cocktail menus. And American sales of Absolut went down 10.7% between 2010 and 2014.


Cutting back on beer (Source: Nielsen)

Key takeaways from the recent Beer Summit Conference in San Diego:

  • Since 2015, the 10 largest beer brands declined 2.9% while “newbie” breweries grew 11.8%
  • On premise sales for “standard-priced beer” declined 5.6%, while sales of premium-priced beer increased 10%
  • 16% of neighborhood bars have shuttered over last decade. It’s where 56% of consumers usually drink beer
  • 38% of millennial males (vs. 15% of baby boomer males), drink across three or more different beverage alcohol segments within a single drinking occasion.
  • 20% of beer drinkers are drinking more wine (Source: Wine Enthusiast)


Drinking Healthier

  • Millennials are driving the trend toward healthier choices.
  • They are also supposedly cutting back on drinking in general(?).
  • More brands are starting to tweak recipes to reduce sugar and offer gluten-free and low-carb versions

Share this post on: