In the beverage world, both distillers and brewers are constantly changing their game to keep up with the changing palates of their customers. If a person looks back at just the past 10 years in the beverage industry, new styles, methods and trends have emerged and evolved. This trend will continue as we move into 2018. The following is a list of 10 brewing and distilling trends to watch in 2018.
IPA’s will continue with their storming of the beer marketplace. As the absolute IPA craze moves forward, the beers themselves will continue to diversify. Keep an eye on the East Coast IPA craze to continue to develop, with their hazy look and fruity hop aroma. Subcategories of IPA will continue to grow in the Belgian, double, triple, session, black, red and white styles of the beer.
While IPA’s will continue to grow, some customers are eager for the return of the lagers into the craft beer segment. Many small brewers are honing their craft with lagers as customers are continually seeking more quaffable beers as opposed to the highly hopped options that have been popular for years now. The lagers, like pilsners, are often more difficult for small brewers to perfect but the challenge is being accepted by a lot of small brewers to meet customer demand.
Sticking with the beer segment, another trend to watch for is classic beer styles coming back to the forefront. Many small brewers are going sour in brewing a gose, a beer with a history that dates back to the 16th century in Germany. Other classic styles seeing a comeback are kvass, altbiers and dortmunders. Consumers are becoming more educated on these classic style beers and as brewers are producing them, consumptions follows immediately.
Quirky and popular barrel-aged beer is poised to continue another beer trend that will be in the forefront of 2018. This largely stems from the Beligian lambic producer's traditions. Look for this to have a huge impact on beer in the United States.
One final beer trend to keep an eye on is the global craft beer market entering the United States. Seeing the popularity of craft beer in the States. International craft brewers from Australia, Chile, and Italy are seeing their spot in the market.
Moving to the distilled beverages, one trend that has started and continue will be distillers taking on craft angles. What started with giant Jack Daniels releasing brands like Gentleman Jack and Sinatra Select will continue with other large distillers releasing new concoctions with a craft spin. Another whiskey powerhouse, Jim Beam, has also released their own craft versions in Signature Craft and Craft Red Wheat.
Speaking of the whiskey category, look for unusual mash bills in whiskey to be a growing trend moving forward. Many small distillers are trying new things in their mash bill like oats, which make for a much different flavor in the finished product. Other small distillers are experimenting with all wheat grain bills and millet as well. These different mash ingredients are creating all new flavor profiles that whiskey fans are being very receptive to.
Another trend in the craft whiskey game will be young whiskeys with great flavor being released. With many of the small, upstart distilleries looking to start paying their bills, they are looking to release their bottled product much sooner than five to ten years down the road. Many are going to great lengths to help the flavor profiles in their young whiskey, including using the above mentioned change in mash ingredients to aging the drink in much smaller, five gallon batches.
With the move of the dark spirits going craft, another trend that has started and will continue are the white spirits like vodka and gin hitting that market. Many local distilleries are popping up with excellent vodkas and gins. The popular spin that they are marketing is the use of local ingredients in wheat, pine, mint, citrus, honey, wildflowers and juniper to name a few.
The final trend in the white spirits category will be gin distilleries looking to mask the juniper flavor in their finished product. The strong flavor profile is the trademark of gin, but the taste is not for everybody. There will be a number of distillers moving forward looking to utilize flavors like citrus and floral to add bitterness and help blend with the flavor of the juniper to remove it from the forefront of the palate experience of the drinker.
The national and global brewing and distilling marketplace has been ever-changing in all of our lifetimes. Due to the changing consumer marketplace and the booming enthusiasm for these products in consumers, the changing landscape will continue moving forward into the New Year.