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NACE Beverage Trends Series: Part I: Cracking the Code with Wine

We are all trying to crack the ‘code' with the next generation of customer so that our businesses remain ‘relevant', right? One way to do that is by getting rid of the ‘old school' ways of offering beverage alcohol! 
The a-typical catering wine and spirits lists are completely outdated:  
 
a. Beverages are listed at the end of the food menu item pages. (How many pages do you have to go through to get to the beverage selections?)
 
b. They are listed in an outdated fashion:  
  • Wines lists are listed by white wine – red wines. The same varietals are offered over and over again: chardonnay, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir
  • Spirits are listed as ‘house, premium etc. and the bar packages are listed by brand names…one of each: vodka, gin, tequila, whiskey etc etc… 
 
We are all so good at updating our menus, food packages & breaks and we have gotten so creative with presentation that we clearly have forgotten about the beverage opportunities!  

So how do we do this? KEEP UP WITH THE TRENDS!! 
  1. Start by taking a nosedive into your wine list, spirits list and bar packages.  
  2. Don't just look at what you offer but how you offer it and where!
  3. Pay attention to the beverage trends happening around you and adapt accordingly.  
  4. Take a look at what is being offered in your hotel bar, in local restaurants, on social media and even what you do at home when you entertain!
  5. Think ‘DISCOVERY' in all categories!! 
First, let's look at the current, Top 10 hot wine trends for today's wine drinker: 
  1. Offer NEW & different varietals and wines from different regions.
  2. Offer local wines from your state or region.
  3. White and red blends – a very hot category today.
  4. Offer wines that tell a story and share that on your wine list.
  5. Do ‘seasonal' wine ‘features':  offer Rosés in warm climates & deep, dark heavier reds in cold climates like a Syrah/Shiraz.
  6. Wines that are made from organically grown grapes and/or are sustainable and find a way to communicate that.
  7. Champagne and sparkling wine of all types – not just for celebrations anymore!
  8. Wine-on-Tap: there are many quality wines that are offered in tank and many affordable, mobile units available to serve them from. A great way to serve a crowd while staying environmentally friendly!  
     …Check out the leader in all things WOT: www.freeflowwines.com; www.trywineontap.com
  9. Include a larger variety of wine on your bars, not just Chardonnay!
  10. Build a wine-tasting station to sell to your event customers.