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Southern Glazer’s Releases Findings From Liquid Insights Tour

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Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has released the results of its 2022 Liquid Insights Tour, a coast-to-coast educational initiative designed to explore and identify the latest trends in cocktails and wine.

The Liquid Insights Tour began in Houston in February, and included stops in Kansas City, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago and Los Angeles. Over the course of 111 days, Brian Masilionis, director of on-premise commercial strategy and national accounts for Southern Glazer’s, led a team of mixologists to sample more than 400 drinks in 83 restaurants, bars and hotels, compiling their insights to discover emerging cocktail and wine trends across the U.S.

Through the Liquid Insights Tour, Southern Glazer’s is sharing its findings to help the hospitality industry that is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic.

“Our driving purpose for conducting the Liquid Insights Tour was to uncover innovative beverage trends and experiences across the country to ensure Southern Glazer’s continues to have the most knowledgeable sales consultants in the industry,” Masilionis said. “Throughout the tour, we evaluated the complete on-premise experience by examining product offerings, pricing, promotional approach, people, service and process.”

Analysis of the findings of the Liquid Insights Tour revealed that top trends fell into three distinct categories: cocktail trends, wine trends and presentation/execution trends.

Top cocktail insights:

  • Bartenders were mixing spirits not commonly used together to create new and interesting cocktail flavor profiles such as Scotch and corn liqueur, rum and cognac, and gin and mezcal.
  • The team found many cocktails that were made using a variety of methods or modifiers to balance the drink or add layers of flavor. These included the use of acids; sugars and syrups; salt; herbs and spices; coffee and tea; and the use of fats beyond animal fats.
  • The Espresso Martini took center stage as the standout cocktail of the tour. Around the country, mixologists are giving new life into this classic, incorporating a variety of creative ingredients such as amaro and coffee liqueurs or brandy with espresso or cold brew.
  • Non-alcoholic offerings at the country’s top bars, restaurants and hotels are just as elevated and pricey as its alcoholic counterparts, featuring similar ingredients, flavors and presentations just without alcohol.

Top wine insights:

  • Champagne and sparkling wines continue to climb in popularity on drink menus. Throughout the tour, more sparkling options were available by-the-glass and had a more prominent presence on top wine lists. In addition, bartenders are mixing sparkling wine of all styles and prices into their cocktails.
  • Chilled selections of red and sweet wines appeared on menus across the U.S. Orange wines also appeared more frequently, often presented on menus in a combined rosé and orange section.
  • Curated by-the-glass options are becoming more diverse and more balanced between domestic and international offerings than in the past.

Top execution and presentation insights:

  • Top bartenders continue to innovate around batching their cocktails, including both partial and full batching, driven by the need for speed and to improve quality and consistency in cocktail preparation.
  • Adding “flair” to the cocktail experience with the use of vapors, “air,” smoke or torch; the use of unique glassware; or the return of communal drinks to be shared; all are creating memorable moments for consumers.
  • Restaurants and bars are evolving their menus beyond being a functional tool to improve the consumer experience. The team saw categorizations and humorous names paired with detailed drink descriptions. QR codes, which rose in popularity due to COVID-19, are being used to deliver broader offerings and information – from curated, account-specific Spotify playlists to ever-changing allocated spirit offerings.

“Identifying which insights are relevant to your business and how to incorporate them using creative themes, highlighting seasonal ingredients and tailoring cocktail and wine offerings to the demographics of your guests are all strong strategies,” Masilionis said.

“We continue to see the ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout this industry segment, in terms of effects on the work force and on the consumers returning for the on-premise experience. We’re excited to offer these insights to help speed the recovery from the pandemic and make this segment stronger and more consumer-focused than ever.”

For more information, visit southernglazers.com/Liquid-Insights.

For more beverage news from The Shelby Report, click here.

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