Top drinks trends from Imbibe 2018

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Tasty tipple: rum is predicted to be the next big trend in spirits, according to experts
Tasty tipple: rum is predicted to be the next big trend in spirits, according to experts
A continuing demand for gin, dark and fruity beers, and sparkling wines are three trends that operators need to look out for, according to four drinks producers at this year’s Imbibe Live show.

While gin is showing no signs of slowing, younger consumers are on the hunt for something different, according to founder and owner of Kin Toffee Vodka, Judith Wren.

She said: “Vodka will rise but the gin bubble hasn’t burst yet and there is still some mileage in it.

“But coming up on the outside, galloping along is rum. There’s a sexiness about rum and there’s a young vibe to it.”

Neptune Rum director James Molloy said the ‘craft movement’ has had an impact on more than just beer.

He explained: “The ‘rumolution’ is coming. In fact, it has already started and we have seen it with the Tiki craze.

“There is a new wave of spirit drinkers, moving from, dare I use the word 'gin', that might be tempted by rum.

“Traditionally, a lot of people have always drunk rum in the past but there has been an age gap, now there is now a movement thanks to the craft revolution."

Rum variety

He said: “Some 25 years ago, everyone was drinking the traditional old navy rums but now we have more than 100 different rums available.

“There is such variety with rum too. You can drink it neat, in cocktails and with mixers.”

From dark spirits to dark beers, Hook Norton brewer George Clarke said stouts are going to be the next big thing.

He added: “I see a lot more people leaning towards stouts. There have been a lot of stouts coming into the market, which has been to saturated with pale ales.

“There will also be a lot more fruit-flavoured beers and sour beers that have been made well, using alternative techniques such as a coolship, sour yeast, acids and fruit flavours.”

Wine and spirit brand Pol Roger predicted the next 12 months for the drinks category. Managing director James Simpson said: “Champagne is interesting at the moment because over the past couple of years, we have seen some drop off at the bottom end of the Champagne trade, the bottom end has fallen out as prices have gone up, exchange rate has gone the wrong way.

“However, the strong brands will continue to remain strong. The so-so brands will have more problems maintaining position.

“Prosecco continues to grow but the growth is slowing down as prices are going up and people are discovering there's perfectly good Cava and more."

Global wine

He added: “With wine, Burgundy remains strong, Bordeaux is having a slightly tough time at the moment but decent wines from wherever will continue to do well.

“There are some really good wines coming from all over the world now. It is no longer that Bordeaux and Burgundy is it, and nothing else exists.

“Rosé ​continues to grow. We are talking to some interesting people about rosé in cans at the moment and why not? Wine gets a bit serious in life and we are part of the 'entertainment' industry so let's make it fun. Certainly, entry-level, good value wines.”

For spirits, Simpson outlined how gin is still top of the pops for the category but, other tipples are on its tail.

He added: “Spirits-wise, I am astounded at how many gins there are [at Imbibe]. There are challenges in gin. Those that are well funded with a story continue to do well. My concern is that a lot do not have the money or the story, and I cannot see how they will all survive.

“The biggies in spirits seem to be whisky and gin but it is all to do with costs of production. It is more expensive to produce whisky than it is to produce gin. It is very expensive to produce Champagne.”

Related topics: Spirits & Cocktails

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