NEW YORK, Dec 12 — Tea, handcrafted sodas, vermouth and sour beer are among some of the beverage trends forecast to make a splash in 2014 by a team of influential restaurant consultants.
According to the latest trend forecast by Baum + Whiteman out of New York, most of the trends poised to recast American drinking habits in 2014 will be spearheaded by coffee giant Starbucks for a series of beverages that are everything but java-based.
When the multinational chain acquired tea specialist Teavana last year, for example, the writing was on the boutique walls: premium teas would become the next big beverage.
Starbucks has made no secret of its plans to diversify its portfolio away from coffee - a commodity vulnerable to the effects of climate change and rising prices. When they bought out Teavana, the company said that it planned to “transform the tea industry.”
After water, tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world representing a US$90 billion (RM270 billion) market.
This fall, the company opened its first new-style flagship store in Manhattan, a boutique lined with loose-leaf teas.
Baum + Whiteman also predict juice bars to become increasingly popular next year, another sector that hasn’t escaped Starbucks’ reach. In 2012, the chain acquired Evolution Fresh and wasted no time in opening the first new outlet in the US, serving freshly-pressed premium juices.
Sodas are getting artisan makeovers thanks to at-home machines like SodaStream which allow consumers to make their own flavoured, fizzy drinks and imaginative bar programs across the US. Using buzzwords like ‘hand-crafted’ and ‘artisan,’ mixologists, for instance, are infusing club sodas with house-made fruit syrups.
Once again, the thirst for handcrafted sodas hasn’t escaped the clutches of Starbucks, which quietly launched a range of retro-inspired sodas like Golden Ginger Ale, Spiced Root Beer and Lemon Ale in Austin and Atlanta this year.
In alcohol, expect to see vermouth, “the latest fixation of artisan bartenders” experience a renaissance as bartenders mix their own bespoke batches and stock premium bottles from around the world on their shelves.
And finally, intrepid beer lovers may be interested in a niche but growing trend of sour beers inoculated with wild yeasts and aged in wood barrels. With the acidity of Pinot Noir, sour beers are said to be a great pairing with barbecue. — AFP-Relaxnews