On the Menu for 2010: Local Wine, Specialty Beers, and Culinary Cocktails

Articles
December 11, 2009

On the Menu for 2010: Local Wine, Specialty Beers, and Culinary Cocktails

In a climate of high unemployment and economic turmoil, the restaurant industry has taken a hit this year.

In a climate of high unemployment and economic turmoil, the restaurant industry has taken a hit this year. With consumers looking for ways to save money, foodservice industry nominal sales are expected to decline by approximately -0.8% in 2010, but according to Nation's Restaurant News, consumer traffic trends are expected to stabilize and turn positive after June.

However, in the wake of this decline in restaurant business, a National Restaurant Association survey suggests that for Americans that are dining out, 2010 may be a year of heightened interest in specialty spirits, local wines, craft beers, and culinary cocktails. More than 1,800 chefs were surveyed, and according to the results, locally produced wine and beer is the fifth hottest trend on restaurant menus in 2010.  Culinary cocktails and artisan liquor both rank in the top 20.

Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the Association, in Chain Leader last week, said, "In addition to the local sourcing trend that is also big in food items, we are seeing a fresh approach to integrating beer into meals, with chefs and 'beer sommeliers'.

The movement to eat local has arrived out of the growing green movement to reduce transportation costs and support local producers. As a growing number of restaurants around the country are starting to promote fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables from local growers, it is not surprising to see that this trend will roll over into locally produced beers and wines.

In addition, the National Restaurant Association notes that hot beverage trends to be seen include organic beer/wine/spirits, food-beer pairings, craft beer, gluten-free beer, specialty beer and organic cocktails. And we should expect to see the bartender graduate into the position of chef/mixologist.