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New year, new you, new drinks trends

So 2020 has arrived, along with a brand new decade! We went exploring the world of wine and drinks for the latest trends. Here are a few that stand out for us:

1. Digestifs are back baby!

The Gin craze has not slowed down, and it is fitting that some of the best G+T experiences and products are now coming from the African continent. We continue to be a fan, and have an array of Gs and Ts to satisfy every sunset. We are very excited, however, about a growing trend, aimed more at the after dinner experience. The humble digestif is making a comeback. From barrel aged cocktails, to aged rums and brandies, to hand crafted Old Fashioned cocktails, the rich and decadent digestif is back! Instead of chasing Guests to bed, this is a fantastic way to engage with them after dinner, around the fire, or at the dinner table.

2. Refreshing reds

It is pretty exciting to see a shift towards fruit driven, and fresh red wines. There are numerous reasons for this, and there is certainly a return to old traditions, before new oak was the rage. There is also a wonderful new generation of winemakers bringing these wines to market, led by their experience making wine in Europe, and also their bank balances! Startup winemakers don't have the budgets for new oak, and are finding a lot of success with old oak aging and other techniques, like carbonic maceration (whole berry fermentation). These bring out lighter and fresher flavours and structures, ideal for African luncheons. Look out for Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cinsaut and even lighter Cabernet Franc coming out of South Africa. On the international front we are really excited about some of the Beaujolais and Etna wines in our portfolio.

3. Sustainable producers

Every year renowned South African wine writer, Emile Joubert, releases a crystal ball of trends he believes will impact the South African Wine Industry. We are keen followers. One of his trends this year, is the year of green.

Brands will be under more pressure to not just sell a product, but also give back to environmental and community projects. This is a major focus for us in 2020 and beyond, and fortunately are already fortunate enough to work with leading wineries in this space. Our Tree-bate program will underline this.

Watch this space for more Rhino Gin - type projects!

4. Purpose driven lists

So this is something we believe in strongly, and have harped on about it for a while. It is EASY to come up with a drinks list. The question is, how do you make your offering authentic and relevant to your property. How does your drinks list reflect your purpose, stories and values? We spoke about this two years ago at the SPARK talks preceding the We Are Africa show.

The key is to map your stories and values and then build out a food and drinks experience from there. Connecting guests to your WHY is a lot more powerful than connecting them to a copy and paste menu. If family is your thing, dig into family owned brands. If conservation is your message, then work with those conservation-minded drinks brands. We have customers who match their offering to their Guests, where they come from. Others source only from within a small radius of their property. Find your purpose and reflect it through our List Mapping process.

5. Dry January and beyond!

It is not just our beloved millenials who are embracing an alcohol free tipple of choice (paired with smashed avo on toast). Many Guests are choosing to drink less or only enjoy non-alcoholic drinks. It is really important to cater for these Guests and delight them with a progressive and delicious offering. Look out for tonics mixed with interesting cordials and non-alcoholic gins. Virgin cocktails and mixers are also a fantastic option, along with alcohol free craft beer. We are working closely with the Duchess, Barker and Quinn and Devil's Peak and an array of de-alcoholised wines.

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