Excellent news if you’re planning a shindig soon: Whole Foods’ 2019 drink trends report has been released, according to Food And Wine — and on it are a whole bunch of options sure to spice up your next summer barbecue. Chosen by Whole Foods’ beer, wine, and spirits experts, Doug Bell and master sommelier Devon Broglie, the list of boozy beverages includes a little something for most people, whether your tastes lean more towards American-made beer and wine or towards the international market.
To be fair, the report isn’t strictly limited to summertime — but the timing of its release, combined with the nature of most of the suggestions on it, make it something you could easily refer to for seasonally fitting drink recommendations. At the same time, though, you can (obviously) also feel free to drink any of the options on the list year ‘round. Or not at all. It’s your call. Do with all this information what you will.
In any event, Whole Foods has released a drink trend report for a few years now — and typically, they’re fairly accurate. Some of the major trends for 2018, for example, included hard seltzer and “alternative packaging,” both of which we’ve continued to see in great numbers since then: A wide variety of hard seltzers are now available, and canned wine has had a banner year.
Will 2019’s trend report prove to be as prescient? Only time will tell — but in the meantime, here’s what Whole Foods’ experts think will be on the rise this summer and beyond:
Americans’ love of IPAs is showing no sign of slowing down. CNBC credits Harpoon’s 1993 seasonal IPA release as the catalyst for the style’s popularity in the United States; then a little-known variety, its novelty quickly catapulted it into the spotlight. The trend caught on, and craft breweries throughout the country have been working on refining their own takes on the beer ever since.
With popularity, however, also comes the need to innovate — which is where Whole Foods’ trend prediction for this year comes in. Not content to keep drinking the same old, hop-heavy IPAs all the time, brewers have begun coming up with variations on the theme. This year, according to Whole Foods, the “innovative IPAs” to notice are brut IPAs and milkshakes IPAs.
Invented several years ago by Kim Sturdavant of California-based Social Kitchen And Brewery, brut IPAs get their name from their champagne-like quality; they’re incredibly dry, very fizzy, and, as The Takeout observed in 2018, “nothing like the fruity, hazy, creamy IPAs that now dominate taps across America.” Milkshake IPAs, meanwhile, incorporate lactose, fruit, spices, and hop additions to create what VinePair describes as IPAs with a “creamy, full-bodied texture and bold opacity that’s akin to what you slurp at a malt shop.” Like the brut IPA, they’re recent inventions; they date back to roughly 2015. For some brut IPA suggestions, head here; for milkshake IPAs to try, head here.
Oregon Pinot Noirs
According to Thrillist, the report notes that Oregon wines are “having a moment” in general — and, indeed, demand for wines made in the state grew dramatically in 2018, as evinced by that year’s Nielsen numbers. When the Oregon Wine Board released the state’s 2018 wine growth numbers back in February 2019, there was a growth in the dollar value of Oregon wineries of a whopping 12.4% percent in 2018. (For reference, the previous year’s numbers tallied only 1.5%.) As Wine Industry Advisor commented at the time, that “equates to Oregon wine growing more than eight times faster than the overall category, which experienced an almost flat dollar growth in 2018.”
Pinot noir has always been one of the Oregon wine industry’s staples, largely due to the fact that the climate in the state — and in the Willamette Valley in particular — is ideal for growing pinot noir grapes. The grapes are one of the varieties that do particularly well in cooler climates; when grown in Oregon, the resulting wine made from these grapes is typically “light and fruity” with tasting notes including many red berries, such as cranberry, pomegranate, and dark cherry, according to wine-focused website Kazzit.
With reds no longer being thought of solely as wines best enjoyed in colder weather — and with the growing trend of serving red wines chilled instead of at room temperature — it’s no wonder that an alcohol trend forecast released during the summer months would include Oregon pinot noirs in particular. Head here for some suggestions under $20 a pop and here for some pricier options.
According to Whole Foods, reports Food And Wine, sake’s popularity has “[continued] to steadily grow throughout the U.S., with consumption reaching all-time highs in recent years.” Whole Foods credits “the growing popularity of ramen, yakitori, soba, udon, and izakaya restaurants” with “[giving] more consumers the opportunity to experiment with the popular Japanese beverage.”
The traditional sake brewing process starts by polishing rice in order to reveal each grain’s “starchy core,” according to sake website Sake Social. The rice is then washed, soaked, and steamed before being combined and massaged with koji in order to start the starch-to-sugar conversion process. Yeast and other ingredients are added; then the whole thing is left to ferment. After it’s done fermenting, the mash is pressed, filtered, pasteurized, and diluted with filtered water before being bottled and labeled.
Japanese sakes can be fairly easily acquired in the United States these days; a number of sake breweries have also opened up in the United States in recent years. Head here for some suggestions of sake to try.
“The Intersection Of Beer & Wine And Fitness”
I’ll admit that this particular trend made me scratch my head a little bit. What exactly does “the intersection of beer and wine and fitness” mean? Are we talking about, say, some of the health benefits studies have found drinking red wine to yield? Or is it more along the lines of, I don’t know, beer yoga? Well, it turns out the answer is neither: According to Thrillist, we’re talking about lighter options like FitVine, Cense, and hard seltzer. If that does it for you, great; if it doesn’t, though, that’s A-OK, too. You do you. (I still think beer yoga sounds like a more entertaining interpretation of “the intersection of beer and wine and fitness,” but that’s just me.)
Ultimately, though, drink whatever you want. Trend reports aren’t demands; they’re observations about what seems to be popular at any given moment. If the categories identified by Whole Foods as “buzzy” for the season look interesting to you, go ahead and try some! If they don’t, don’t! All’s fair in summer and backyard barbecues, so break out the cooler and go forth. Have fun!