Balancing the Bar with the rise of Teetotalers

 In Blog, Food & Beverage Trends

There are a myriad of better-for-you alcoholic options presently available at happy hours. A few examples: spiked seltzer, low-cal, perfectly portioned wine or spirit based cocktails, hard kombucha, or cocktails with an ACV based drinking vinegar. Furthermore, the prioritization of health and wellness is influencing more consumers to consume less alcohol. Recent data from IWSR indicates that beer sales volume declined 1.5% in 2018 (.4% more of a decline than 2017), and total U.S. alcohol volumes similarly dropped .8% in 2018. Though more mindful drinking is a value that resonates with many a Millennial, many alcohol alphas are diversifying their portfolio to appeal to those abstaining from alcohol – whether it’s just during Dry January or for a longer period of time.

Culinary experts also weighed in on what they thought the hottest non-alcoholic trends would be for 2018, and while we’ve mostly moved on from 2018, we suspect that consumer interest in alcohol-free libations won’t waver much in the next few years. According to a poll by the National Restaurant Association, below are the top beverages that restaurant goers may be most inclined to whet their palette with (and examples that we’ve found around the U.S.).

Top N/A Beverage Predictions by Culinary Experts:

  1. House-made/craft/artisan soft drinks: 56%
    1. Mazarine Coffee | Sparkling Hibiscus Soda, San Francisco, CA
    2. Elote Café | White Peach Cooler, Sedona, AZ
    3. Queen City | Cucumber Apple Soda, Seattle, WA
  2. Gourmet Lemonade: 55%
    1. Hot Dog on a Stick | Cherry & Lime Lemonades, Albuquerque, NM
    2. Bon Me Food Truck | Thai Basil Lemonade & Spicy Ginger Lemonade, Boston, MA
    3. Skyebird | Lavender Lemonade, Orlando, FL
  3. Cold Brew Coffee: 55%
    1. Starbucks, Peet’s, Dunkin’ Donuts
  4. Locally House Roasted Coffee: 55%
    1. SummerMoon | Austin, TX
    2. The Coffee Shop |Albuquerque, NM
    3. Birch Coffee | New York, NY
  5. Specialty Iced Tea: 46%
    1. Happy Lemon |Green Tea with Salted Cheese, Boston, MA
    2. Steap Tea Bar | Hibiscus Punch, San Francisco, CA
    3. The Orange Couch | Thai Iced Tea, New Orleans, LA

Other beverage types that made the list:

  • Specialty teas: 46%
  • Mocktails: 45%
  • Kombucha 44%

Have an innovative beverage idea that can help enhance your beverage menu? Email us at to start a conversation about your next beverage project.