Even though we're already into the month of March (seriously, where did February go?), Whole Foods Market has shared their trend predictions for beer and wine in 2018. You can expect lots more wine in cans, bigger bottles, and lighter brews on the horizon. Tailgaters, party planners, and anyone who needs to refresh their tastebuds from one too many heavy craft brews will rejoice.
Here's what the experts, Devon Broglie and Doug Bell, who run the Whole Foods Market global beverage team have to say.
1. Lighter Body, Lower Alcohol
For the last few years, hoppy IPAs have been all the rage, but Whole Foods thinks 2018 is going to see a turn towards lower alcohol and lighter body. "Sessionable brews that are lower in alcohol, and for the most part lower in price than their heavier craft counterparts, are also rising to the top as consumers move towards simple and delightful lighter-bodied beers," explains the report.
2. Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine
The whole bourbon barrel-aged trend isn't anything new when it comes to beer or snacks, but it has yet to take over wine. Until this year. "Bourbon distilleries are required to use each barrel only once, so these wineries are repurposing barrels and reaping the benefits of bold, rich flavors left behind," says the report.
3. Hard Seltzers
If you think hard seltzers were popular in 2017, just wait until this year. "Hard seltzers allow consumers to toast their daily accomplishments and big wins with natural, refreshing drinks," explains the report.
4. Pre-Packaged Specialty Spritzers
Just like canned wine, cocktails are also getting the pre-packaged refresh. "Pre-packaged cocktails and wine spritzers will steal the show at your friends and family get-togethers in 2018," explains Whole Foods.
5. New Packaging That Breaks Tradition
In 2018, you can expect larger bottles and even wine bottles made of plastic. "Price-conscious shoppers [are] looking towards alternative packaging when making purchases in the wine & spirits category," says Whole Foods.
See full report: Whole Foods Market reveals Top Beer & Wine Trends for 2018
It's fun to see how consumer demand has played a large part in this year's trends. We like to have fun, creative, specialty spritzers, and we aren't as fond of making them as we have been in years past (although you should always have a good sangria recipe in your back pocket). We want beer and wine in containers that allow us the quantity and convenience that we haven't been afforded in years past.
We want flavor and we want to be able to drink socially without the same calorie count and without the same heaviness that comes from a night of social drinking, and the market has responded to that.