Here Are the Beverage Trends That Will Define 2018

A toast to the New Year.

With more than 150 of New York State’s 300 breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cider makers located right here in the Hudson Valley, we asked the experts to share some drink trends we can expect to see this year.

Laurence P. Gottlieb, president and CEO of Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation (HVEDC), which founded the Hudson Valley Food & Beverage Alliance, expects to see more hybrid drinking experiences for consumers in the coming year. “In places like New York City, we’ve seen craft beverages being served at unexpected locations like movie theaters, laundromats, and even nail salons. Eventually, our local laws will change to fully capitalize on what’s happening in the market and to allow alcohol sales in locations such as these.”

Related: It’s Only Natural: Hands Off Local Winemaking

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Michael Drapkin, owner of Kingston Wine Co., says that the natural wine movement (wines that are farmed organically or biodynamically) has had a huge influx in the market. He expects it will continue to grow. “There has been a big gain in notoriety and accessibility of organic ingredients, making natural wines part of the narrative today.”

With the explosive popularity of rosé wines, expect to see some other colorful choices gain popularity in 2018. According to Drapkin, “With more and more people embracing new colors of wine besides red or white, we expect people to be open to different styles like orange wines. Orange is like nothing else. It’s an ancient category, but modern in its revival and resurrection.”

What’s old is also new this year with cocktails. Steven Aigner, head mixologist and bar manager at The River Grill in Newburgh, says, “Expect to see new twists on old classics,” the likes of which might include Negronis, an Italian cocktail made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin, and Palomas, made with Mezcal — fondly known as tequila’s cousin.

Bartenders will also be using more craft products this year. Aigner tells us, “Big brands will always be present behind the bar, but craft products are pushing onto the scene. This year you’ll discover local brands you haven’t seen before, and start to see some of the more established brands hit their stride.” The artisanal aspect isn’t just reserved for alcohol, either. “You get great flavors from products like More Good syrups and mixers that you can’t find anywhere else,” he adds.

Photo By Meghan Spiro

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The industry also owes much to Instagram, which has exponentially increased craft cocktail design and construction. “Instagram is the next big thing to continue to grow the cocktail community. Social media is the easiest way for a bartender to gain inspiration,” says Aigner. “It flips a switch for you. You see something that another bartender does — the way they garnish, or the use of a specific ingredient — and you can grab inspiration from that for how you want your drink to look or taste.”

Paul Halayko, president and chief operating officer of Newburgh Brewing Company, says IPAs will continue to dominate the craft beer market. “I always say sour beers and pilsners will be the next big thing, but, at the end of the day, the IPA category is still so strong I don’t see anything else coming close to toppling it.”

Related: What’s Caused The Craft Beverage Industry To Boom?

Halayko would also like to see more stability in taste and pricing when it comes to beer. “Beer is not meant to be a collector’s item, but it’s become that for some people: chasing down the elusive and rare bottles, shipping it cross-country, trading it, or standing in line for four hours to buy a limited-edition release,” he says. “We’re going to see a resurgence of beer that’s approachable, drinkable, and — for lack of a better way of putting it — tastes like beer.

“Beer was meant to be a drink for all classes of people,” Halayko continues. “They used to say that beer is recession-proof, but that’s not the case when a four-pack of cans costs more than $20. We’re going to see beer returning to an affordable liquid.”

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Whatever your drink of choice, it’s time to raise a glass and toast to the start of a happy, healthy, and successful new year.

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