1. Spirits go dark
One permanent way in which the explosion in the gin category over the latter half of the last decade has directly affected the consumer is by increasing their spirits repertoire. This will take the drinker, who perhaps would have stuck to one or two brands within a category, and grow their sense of adventurism in the on-trade.
While gin in various colours may become the biggest selling spirit in pubs and bars this year, if not next, its growth will lead to expansion within darker spirits too as increasingly curious customers experiment more with what’s available on the back bar. Expect a big year for whiskies from home and abroad, dark and spiced rums and Anejo tequila - alter your spirits range accordingly to slake the thirst for flavour exploration within outlets.
High ball serves can be as crucial to the growth of this as the rapid expansion in tonic water varieties was to the world of gin has been, providing a straightforward yet tasty, and risk free, way to sample the unfamiliar. In particular, the smoky, medicinal notes of peated whisky can play well with a host of mixers, think ginger ale, cola and soda water, while opening up new flavours to those who have previously shied away from such a bold taste.