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Prognostications for 2014.

It's January, so it must be time to create lists. Lists of New Year Resolutions are the most popular; but then there are lists of the top ten stocks to invest in for the coming year [If I name a stock anywhere in this column, ignore it!], and lists of new faces to be on the lookout for in the vast entertainment industly [I am equally zaiqualified here, since I believe Duck Dynasty refers to the great Donald Duck], and lists of potential new technologies that may make our lives abundantly more rewarding [Excuse me, again, i f I plead ignorance, since I still equate Angfry Birds with an Alfred Hitchcock film.] Fortunately, I am somewhat familiar with trends in the beverage alcohol industry, and so I offer up this totally unscientific, completely subjective list of predictions that might, or might not, occur over the coming year But first a caveat: I have not always been a great predictor of trends. Upon initially seeing deli shelves sprouting with strange bottled waters decades ago, I remember commenting out loud, "What idiot would buy plain water!"

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

So first, let's tackle the obvious: flavored spirits. Besides liqueurs, which have always injected exotic flavors into its recipes, the influx of flavored spirits began in the early 1990s with vodkas. That was followed by flavored rums, and then a few flavored tequilas. The advent of flavored whiskies several years ago breached a new frontier, allowing for the current flavor craze even among brown goods. But hack to the Big Daddy of flavot; vodka. Even I've lost count of the numbers and varieties of flavors being grafted onto vodka. All I know is that the "dessert"-flavored vodkas--the marshmallows, the apple pies, the creme brulees, etc.--skipped a few courses at the meal. So, my .first prediction is that the hitherto-ignored main courses will soon begin appearing on vodka labels. Don't be surprised if by next Octoben we begin seeing some brand's Filet Mignon and Brussel Sprouts vodka. I'd definitely plunk down a twenty to taste that bad boy. And I'd go even deeper into my pockets to savor some Shrimp Scampi with Cappellini-flircored vodka.

For my wine prediction, I'm going after the low-hanging fruit. On the one hand, fresh, young and effervescent continue to tingle consumer taste buds. One the same hand, with the economy improving, premium-priced wines dominate the sweet spot in the marketplace.

My beer prediction is a no-brainer Think craft. Think micro. Think specialty. Think about setting up a growler station, if your store is large enough. Some of your competitors already have, and it's helping build the business.

I know what some of you are thinking: "Yeah, I could have come up with these predictions ... as for the others, they're so wacky that they belong on the Mayan calendar" To you non-believers, I say, let's wait until next year and see if Grandma's Meatloaf and Baked Potato Vodka is gracing an endcap in your store.

Richard Brandes, Editor-in-Chief

Richard Brandes, Editor-in-Chief
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Title Annotation:EDITOR'S NOTE
Author:Brandes, Richard
Publication:Beverage Dynamics
Date:Jan 1, 2014
Words:502
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