Drink Trends January 2023

January 18, 2023

drink trends January 2023

Fresh, familiar and flavourful – drink trends January 2023

The latest drink trends include fresh ingredients and new innovations alongside familiar flavours.

For those pursuing new year health kicks there are new natural highs, alcohol-free giveaways and marketing gimmicks to be enjoyed. Yaupon and guayasa are the latest all-natural ingredients being used in energy drinks. And marketing drives for dry January are supporting predictions that the NoLo category will deliver double-digit growth in 2023.

There are also new releases of sustainable packaging for drinks for consumers keen to ‘do better’ this year. But for those opting out of the month of moderation, there’s only one drink on the menu – the Whisky Sour. The classic cocktail is having a moment, both in its traditional form and new recreations.

These are the latest drink trends for January 2023:

Herbal highs – natural energy drinks

‘New’ herbal caffeine sources are creating a buzz across the Americas.

Yaupon and guayasa are the latest herbal additions to the ‘slow release’ energy drinks sphere. The species of holly were already popular with indigenous peoples, thanks to being rich in both antioxidants and caffeine.

Yaupon – pronounced yo-pon – is native to North America. While it was traditionally used for ceremonies by indigenous tribes, it fell out of favour when colonisation brought Chinese tea to the region. Now the plant is being used in energy drinks with fruit flavours like pomegranate, peach, and blackberry being paired with its natural malty sweetness.

Guayasa – pronounced gwhy-u-suh, though with an almost silent G – is cultivated across Amazonian regions of South America. Like yaupon it was first used by indigenous tribes but has remained widely used. Its high levels of theobromine and L-theanine are thought to lower stress levels and blood pressure while improving liver and heart health. Now it is being used in functional drinks and sodas, paired with soft berry and melon flavours.


Spotlight on the Whisky Sour

whisky sour cocktail

Move over Martinis, Negronis and Old Fashioneds – the spotlight has turned to the stylish Whisky Sour. The cocktail is having a moment, in both its classic form and more modern reinventions.

So, what goes into a whisky sour? Traditionally the tipple combines four ingredients – whisky (typically bourbon-based), lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white – all shaken and served over ice. The tart citrus and sweet syrup perfectly balance whisky’s distinct flavour.

Of course, no classic cocktail is immune to riffs from creative mixologists. Whisky sour variations include the so-called Penicillin, which adds soothing ginger and honey to the lemon and whisky mix. The New York sour is topped with red wine for a striking aesthetic, while the whisky daisy cocktail ups the sweetness with extra orange liqueur.

With some ‘marmite’ options in its ingredient list, the Whisky Sour has been reinvented to accommodate wider audiences too. Sweeter options use berries, cherries, or peach in place of the tart lemon. Vegan-friendly versions use aquafaba as an alternative to the egg white, including RTD whisky sour cocktail options using plant-based ingredients to create a portable Whisky Sour.

Marketing drives for dry January

Consumption of no and low alcohol drinks (NoLo) will increase by a third this year, according to new research findings. IWSR Drinks Market Analysis found that NoLo beer, cider, wine, and spirits grew by more than 7% in 2022, with the UK being one of the key global markets leading this. Now double-digit growth is forecast for 2023 and beyond.

Drink brands are supporting this in various ways. Lyres is giving away 10,000 bottles of its alcohol-free spirits to those registering to take part in dry January, as well as donating a portion of its sales to Alcohol Change UK. Meanwhile, Italian brand Memento has launched the world’s first non-alcoholic cocktail competition.

non alcoholic cocktail contest

Over in the US, NoLo’s popularity is being boosted with a more unusual marketing drive. HOP WTR, a non-alcoholic sparkling hop water, has launched the HOP LOCKR for drinkers to lock away booze. The brand then sends a month’s supply of its ‘guilt-free’ drink to enjoy instead, later sending the combination to unlock alcohol at the end of dry January.

Hop WTR lockr

Latest innovations – sustainable packaging for drinks

In the spirit of new year resolutions and transformations, a number of drink brands have moved, or are busy moving, to sustainable packaging for drinks.

English brand Penrhos Spirits will distribute all its drinks in recycled bottles by the end of 2023. Made from 100% recycled aluminium, its bespoke bottles are reusable, recyclable, and stylish.

recycled aluminium bottles

Also switching its packaging is Yazoo, using cardboard cartons for its kids’ drinks. Muller are sticking with plastic but changing to clear bottle caps in a bid to improve recyclability.

Innovators at Cove are also focussing on changes to plastics in the drive for sustainable packaging for drinks. The US-based start-up has developed a plastic bottle from natural polymers, PHAs. The material breaks down within one month in industrial compost, without releasing any toxic waste.

Australian brand Ugly Vodka is also working to reduce waste. Its new vodka is made from ‘imperfect’ apples, saving up to 20 tonnes of the fruit from going to waste.

ugly vodka

Let’s set drink trends together

At Simpsons we are leaders in the science, art and innovation of flavours for drink brands. We use our knowledge and experience – of both market trends and flavour development – to ensure our customers are the first movers in their category.  Get in touch to discuss your next project.

Image source: The Food People 2023

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