Matthew Iovane has been in the restaurant business for years, and he has noticed a change. The millennial and Gen Z groups don’t drink as heavily as older generations. While they still enjoy a beverage from time to time, there is a growing conscientiousness that leads to less alcohol consumption, even while still going out to bars and restaurants for a good time.
These crowds want to enjoy a tasty drink that is less likely to cause drunkenness, impaired driving, or hangovers, and the beverage industry can either keep up or fall behind. Every bar and restaurant needs tasty low-alcohol options.
Non-Alcoholic Beers and Spirits
The not-so-secret truth of the industry is that restaurants and bars don’t have to make the drinks in-house. Non-alcoholic beers are not at all what they used to be. Beer companies now spend around 30 percent of their whole marketing budget just on non-alcoholic beer. The beers are tastier, come in greater variety, and allow people to enjoy a drink without any of the downsides of alcohol. On average, they have less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume.
Spirits are undergoing a similar transition. Restaurants can stock highly rated beers like the Deschutes non-alcoholic Irish Style Stout or the Partake Brewing Blonde Ale. Matthew Iovane suggests that well-loved spirits include the Spiritless Kentucky, which is a non-alcoholic bourbon.
Establishments will have to make decisions based on what they can source, but there are opportunities to stock already bottled non-alcoholic drinks that customers already love.
Matthew Iovane’s Tasty Mocktails
Mocktails put a little more control in the restaurant’s hands. As the name suggests, these are non-alcoholic or low-alcoholic drinks that are all about flavor and experience. Modern mocktails do not have to stick with traditions like the virgin daiquiri. Instead, restaurants can design the drinks around the food menu for optimal paring.
Fruity drinks, mixers that lean on non-alcoholic spirits, and simple drinks built around club soda can all work. All that matters is that patrons enjoy the flavor.
Sours and Light Drinks
Matthew Iovane notes that there is also the option of drinks that have non-trivial alcohol content. Sours are a perfect example. Made with spirits that typically hold half the alcohol concentration of hard liquors, sours taste great and don’t get people drunk nearly as easily. Patrons can still enjoy a light buzz, but the lower alcohol concentration and presence of tasty mixers all work to slow down alcohol consumption. These are alcohol-light drinks that toe the line between traditional adult beverages and non-alcoholic delights.
Naturally, sours are not the limit of alcohol-light cocktails. Any cocktail that features low-percentage liquors or spirits will do.
As Matthew Iovane points out, the drink industry is changing. The younger generations have made their preferences clear. Bars and restaurants can adapt to those changes, or they can be left behind. The opportunities are there; it’s a simple matter of adapting the menu and finding drinks that patrons love.