Local and organic beer, wine, spirits and cocktails, beer and food pairings, craft beer, gluten-free beer, specialty beer and a growing number of bar chefs and mixologists plying their craft are among the beverage trends identified by 1,800 professional chefs surveyed by the National Restaurant Association (NRA). In fact, the “What’s Hot in 2010” survey reveals locally produced wine and beer to be the fifth hottest trend on restaurant menus next year, while culinary cocktails and artisan spirits both rank in the top 20, attesting to the growing importance of spirits, wine and beer in the overall dining experience.
The survey of American Culinary Federation member chefs in October 2009 asked them to rate 214 individual food and beverage items, preparation methods and culinary themes as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite” on restaurant menus in 2010. Many of the beverage trends reflect food trends: local sourcing, organic, hand-made and savory flavors emerged in beverage as well as food, as did awareness of allergens, reflected in the tapping of gluten-free beer as an emerging trend.
Television, trade shows and independent restaurants were ranked as the top three sources of inspiration for food and beverage ideas, according to the chefs surveyed.