NEW YORK, NY—The second annual “The Next Big Sip,” featured six wine and spirits experts across different sectors of the beverage industry. Presented by Les Dames d’Escoffier of New York, the webinar explored critical issues, key trends and newfound opportunities for 2021 that came to the fore during the pandemic. Ten trends emerged, which panelists see today and expect to be prominent during the coming year:
- To thrive in today’s multicultural world of beverage consumers, brands need to be authentic and genuine in the way they approach different segments of the population. This will also benefit the brand’s bottom line.
- The customer is not always right. During the pandemic, restaurants and retail owners have sadly seen overt customer arrogance. Patrons seem to care more about maintaining the pre-pandemic caliber of the experience than about the health of the staff.
- Virtual tastings, events and online wine sales are here to stay. These technologies have enabled beverage professionals of all types to reach new audiences and new markets. Online beverage sales had 10 years’ worth of growth in just the first three months of the pandemic.
- Collective industry action that gave rise to groups like the U.S. Wine Trade Alliance (USWTA) against tariffs for European products will continue. U.S. and European producers all agree that tariffs help no one and have no place in the industry. Tariffs impact workers throughout the beverage industry and will translate to price hikes unless removed.
- The bar is raised for new levels of creativity and innovation by individuals and organizations in the world of spirits, from using new products to make cocktails to creating meal kits for customers.
- Fewer restaurants in the post-pandemic world may result in a better hospitality experience for consumers, according to some of the panelists.
- It is time for fair wages and paying full fare at restaurants to be the industry standard, including previously undervalued ethnic cuisines. To support these positive changes, customers must embrace the improvements made possible by increased prices and adapt to these adjustments.
- Natural wine is here to stay, especially with new options on the market that kick “funky” aromas to the curb.
- Wellness and mental health in the beverage industry have become a necessity, not an elective, during the pandemic and will be part of the conversation going forward.
- Cannabis is not to be feared as it has long been around and will not necessarily take market share from beverage alcohol.
The Next Big Sip panelists included: Anna Christina Cabrales, Founder, @Sommation_Live;
Christy Frank, Owner, Copake Wine Works; Gabriela Davogustto, Wine director, Clay Restaurant; Dia Simms, CEO, Lobos 1707 Tequila & Mezcal; and Samara Rivers, Founder, The Black Bourbon Society and Diversity Distilled. The panel was moderated by Kristen Bieler, Editor-in-Chief of SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media.
About Les Dames d’Escoffier New York (LDNY
LDNY is the founding and largest chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International (LDEI), an experienced 501c3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to advance and support aspiring professional women in food and beverage, as well as to champion critical industry issues. LDNY’s vision is guided by three objectives: Education, Advocacy and Philanthropy. A recording of the event will be available on www.ldny.org.