2018 Beverage Trends for Events

The beverage trends for events in 2018 offer great variety, entertaining options, and flexibility to meet the demands of any customer: connoisseur or amateur alike. Champagne toasts, craft beers at the bar, and classic cocktails are just a few of the trending beverages for the year. Our 2018 favorite beverage trends include:

Rosés

2018 is all about rosé. Pinot noir rosé is a great way to start guests off at a pre-reception or cocktail meet and greet, and is appropriate for all guests, including men, who somewhat surprisingly tend to enjoy it. Tray pass glasses of rosé as guests arrive for a bit of surprise and delight.

Photo courtesy Evonne and Darren Photography; https://evonneanddarren.com/

Other popular wines

When it comes to wines, client preferences should always inform the menu. That said, we definitely see trends in their requests. Chardonnay and merlot are popular this year, with interest about them growing again. Sauvignon blancs served both at the bar and tableside are also increasingly in demand.

A special note —there is also a major increase in requests for craft beers on bars this year!

Events with a sparkling personality

Of course, you can’t go wrong with sparkling wine. Fun and flirty, it is always perfect for an outdoor event. We suggest a “Bubble Bar” with fresh fruit like raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries as well as cranberry or orange juice to mix with your wine.

A bourbon Manhattan, served up. Photo courtesy Kathleen Stoehr

Top cocktails

Everything old is new again. The old classic cocktails are coming back, in place of signature cocktails, adding a sense of nostalgia to many events. Give your guests the opportunity to try an Old Fashioned, French 75, or a Manhattan. Pair each with its appropriate glassware which adds both credibility and character to your bar.

“Bars are focal points at most events, where guests like to spend time relaxing and talking to colleagues, so it can be effective to concentrate design resources there.”

Presentation

The little touches make the biggest difference when it comes to presentation in 2018. For example, place settings, complete with striking water glasses to complement unusually beautiful plates, make a statement. A sprig of rosemary or lavender adds a sweet smelling touch.

Custom bar setups are en vogue as well. Bars are focal points at most events, where guests like to spend time relaxing and talking to colleagues, so it can be effective to concentrate design resources there. Comfortable seating, eye-catching décor, great signage and a bar with a front to conceal items stored behind are all priorities in beverage service today.

Dry weddings

Dry celebrations follow trends as well. Offering a variety of non-alcoholic beverages is a great place to start. Try house-made iced tea and lemonade, or infused waters for a beautiful and practical display. Or create mocktails with sparkling water, fruits, and herbs as something fun that guests can customize. Focus on refreshing items during most of the event, or follow a long event with an evening hot chocolate station complete with house-crafted marshmallows. What a fun treat!

At the end of the day, while you can follow trends, serve what your clients enjoy. Get to know your clients and ask what they like in a wine or beer. Find out what they last ordered at a restaurant to gain some insight. Learn as much as you can about what they love, and choose accordingly—your bar service will certainly be a hit.

Find the next big food trend at Catersource 2019. Click on the logo below for the latest information on the 2019 conference.

Heather Jones

Catering Sales Director

Heather Jones is the Catering Sales Director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property that is home to a winery and vineyards, a golf course, restaurant, and a handful of unique facilities for hosting weddings and special events.