Going out for a drink is, and always will be, a favourite Australian pastime. After work, on the weekend, for a special occasion or just because – Australians love to share a drink. However, what would normally have been a simple decision for deciding on your menu has become something a little more complex – the number of beer choices have increased, wine options have changed and drinking spirits is an entirely different ballgame. Understanding the changing trends and how consumers are choosing to drink is an important discussion, especially for bar and restaurant owners. Here are the biggest trends emerging in wine, beer and spirits:
Walk into any pub or spend just a few moments in a liquor store and you’ll pick up on something: craft beer is big. We’re in a craft beer boom in Australia – the Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA) has estimated that more than 70 million litres of craft beer is produced in Australia each year, with the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand indicating that 93 per cent of beer consumed in Australia is locally-produced. The popularity of craft beer is attributed to a number of things, including the idea that drinking craft beer is seen as an ‘experience’. Consumed slower and enjoyed for the taste, craft beers are often a popular choice for beer drinkers who are looking for a flavoursome drink to enjoy throughout the night.
Natural wines are picking up in popularity, with more and more wine lists offering natural, or ‘low interference’ wine options. A natural wine is essentially one that has had little interference from the makers, fermented with little to no preservatives and no synthetic additives. Inspired by the bold, full taste, natural wines have developed a legion of fans that prefer the full flavour. However, not everyone is a natural wine convert – the wines are more likely to run into faults, making some a little fizzy and sour. Sydney venues with natural wines on offer include Love Tilly Devine in Darlinghurst, The Dolphin Hotel in Surry Hills, and intriguingly, Mary’s – a Newtown burger joint that is as famous for its natural wine selection as it is for its juicy, big burgers.
Consumers are becoming much more aware of boutique spirits brands; especially as smaller business grow their exposure, with the likes of Archie Rose Distillery, and Kangaroo Island Spirits being requested for by name. Increased awareness and demand for further choices, means spirits are more than just cocktails or shots. In fact, cocktails mean so much more than pink drinks with umbrellas, instead a new wave of creativity and craftsmanship make drinks a whole experience. Bars such as Eau de Vie in Sydney’s Darlinghurst have crafted entire menus using interesting ingredients and beautiful spirits to make delicious drinks. For example, their Marshmallow Fizz has strawberry wine, gin, pineapple vinegar and marshmallow syrup, while their margarita is made with agave, a black pepper and sea salt rim and sea salt aroma.
Understanding the changes in Australia’s drinking trends is imperative to being able to run your business successfully. The trends happening within wine, beer and spirits are having huge impact in how consumers choose their drinks. In order to stay ahead, and understand what each trend means for your business, check out Commercial Drinks this September. Featuring a number of exhibitors within beer, wine and spirits, the show will also have leading experts sharing their insight and advice for staying head.