Spirits set to overtake wine as global drinking habits change

According to a report from the World Spirits Alliance released on Wednesday, global sales of spirits such as vodka and whisky are expected to surpass wine as drinking preferences have shifted.

The report from Oxford Economics and alcohol market research firm IWSR states 2.67 billion cases of spirits were sold in 2022, almost as many as the 2.8 billion cases of wine sold that year.

“Should current trends in both categories continue, spirits volumes will soon surpass those of wine,” the report states.

Trends, including a shift towards drinking fewer, more expensive drinks, notably a growing range of cocktails, have seen spirits displace wine.

The wine industry has faced a global supply glut, difficult weather and falling demand, which has hit a 27-year low. Beer companies are also grappling with a shift to spirits in some markets.

BY THE NUMBERS

Beer accounted for 75.2% of total beverage alcohol volumes in 2022, followed by wine at 10.4% and spirits at 9.9%;

In terms of the value of sales in 2022, spirits accounted for 40% of total beverage alcohol sales followed by beer at 38.1% and wine at 17.6%;

Indian whisky is set to be the fastest growing spirits category between 2022 and 2027, growing by 50 million cases, with tequila, rum and gin all expected to rise between 10 and 20 million cases. Cognac and Armagnac are set to grow the least in the spirits market.

The production and sale of spirits contributed some $730 billion to the global economy in 2022, when activity ranging from farming and manufacturing to shipping and sales in shops, bars and restaurants is included.

Source: Reuters

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants 2024 Just Revealed

Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants List 2024 paints a vibrant portrait of Canada’s culinary scene. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Canada’s 100 Best.

“The quality of our list and the publication we build around it is better than ever. The result is an asset to discriminating diners – locals and travellers alike,” said Jacob Richler. “It’s a great time to be dining out in Canada.”

How restaurants are selected?
A panel of 150 judges is assembled to vote for restaurants based on the complete dining experience: service, décor, the depth of the cellar — and, above all else, food quality. Each judge must vote for a minimum of three restaurants outside of their home region. The panel includes informed culinary enthusiasts, food writers and critics, chefs, restaurateurs and other food-service professionals.

Here are some of the winners:

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST RESTAURANTS:

Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)
Edulis (Toronto, ON)
Alo (Toronto, ON)
20 Victoria (Toronto, ON)
Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)
Restaurant Pearl Morissette (Jordan Station, ON)
Published on Main (Vancouver, BC)
Beba (Montreal, QC)
Bar Kismet (Halifax, NS)
Kissa Tanto (Vancouver, BC)

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST NEW RESTAURANTS:

Marilena (Victoria, BC)
Casa Paco (Toronto, ON)
Sushi Yugen (Toronto, ON)
Bar Prima (Toronto, ON)
Sabayon (Montreal, QC)
Casavant (Montreal, QC)
Espace Old Mill (Stanbridge, QC)
Buvette Daphnée (Ottawa, ON)
Parapluie (Montreal, QC)
Magari by Oca (Vancouver, BC)

Other Awards go to:

Best New Restaurant (sponsored by Tourisme Montréal): Marilena Café + Raw Bar (Victoria, BC)

Best Restaurant (sponsored by Nespresso Professional): Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)

Best Sommelier team (sponsored by Lingua Franca): Vanya Filipovic and Alex Landry at Mon Lapin (Montreal, QC)

Best Pastry Chef: Kenta Takahashi, Boulevard, Vancouver (3 TIME WINNER)

People’s Choice Award (sponsored by Uber Eats): Änkôr (Canmore, AB)

Best Destination Restaurant (sponsored by Champlain at Fairmont Le Château Frontenac): Langdon Hall (Cambridge, ON)

Best New Restaurant Design: Bar Prima (Toronto, ON)

The American Express Award for Community Leadership: Paul Toussaint at Kamúy (Montreal, QC)

BEST BARS

The 2024 issue also includes Canada’s 50 Best Bars – useful reviews on where to sip across the nation – including a focus on summer patios. 

THE 2024 TOP 10 BEST BARS ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE:

Bar Pompette (Toronto, ON)
Civil Liberties (Toronto, ON)
Cloakroom Bar (Montreal, QC)
Atwater Cocktail Club (Montreal, QC)
Bar Mordecai (Toronto, ON)
Library Bar at The Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, ON)
Dear Friend Bar (Dartmouth, NS)
The Keefer Bar (Vancouver, BC)
Cocktail Bar (Toronto, ON)
Proof (Calgary, AB)

Here is the link to all the winners:
https://canadas100best.com/

The Winners of the “Star Wine List” Announced

Star Wine List of the Year is the celebration of the great wine lists in the world and the teams behind them. The prize was awarded in ten categories, and the winners in each category got a Gold Star and qualified for the international final which will be held in June.

The International Open was held as an online event on May 6. Of the countries in the finals, both Australia and the Netherlands had the most representatives, with 20 restaurants/bars each. USA had 13 and Canada 10 venues shortlisted.

The jury for the Star Wine List of the Year International Open 2024 includes four international wine experts:

Pascaline Lepeltier
Piotr Pietras MS
Heidi Mäkinen MW
Doug Frost MW MS

“The judging process was quite a challenge and scores were really tight in most categories. The level of wine lists was high and I was impressed by their complexity, depth and a clever, creative touch,” said jury panel member Piotr Pietras MS about judging the International Open.

His fellow jury member Pascaline Lepeltier said:

“How exciting it is to see so many compelling lists from restaurants I have never heard of: it is impressive to see how so many sommeliers all around the world are creating curated beverage programs, with wit and intelligence, sometimes in areas where access to wine is complicated. I salute all their passion and hard work, and I am glad Star Wine List decided to showcase them!”

Doug Frost, both Master Sommelier and Master of Wine, joined the online celebration on May 6.

“I have looked at a lot of wine lists, and judged them, over the years. This time it was both really difficult and interesting. And it was exciting to look at so many different lists, and I learned a lot from it too. And it’s obvious that the people who sent us these lists have worked really, really hard,” he said.

Here are all the Gold Star winners:

The best list overall
[Gold Star]
De Nieuwe Winkel, Nijmegen, Netherlands

“Wow, this is crazy. I’m overwhelmed, thank you so much. I don’t know what to say, I feel very very honoured,” said Gauthier Cauwels from De Nieuwe Winkel.

“This award is not only about a list, but also how a wine selection is coherent with the whole philosophy of a restaurant. De Nieuwe Winkel is showing us what the gastronomy of tomorrow will probably be, ancred but how so diverse, and dedicated to be a local actor while responsibly offering some of the most thoughtful and delicious wines, at a fair price. Congrats!” said jury member Pascaline Lepeltier.

Best Long List
For wine lists with more than 600 references.
[Gold Star]
Restaurant Le Coureur des Bois, Beloeil, Canada

“Thank you. We are so very happy, this feels amazing. It’s a big work for every member on the team to maintain the list. It’s a tough job to keep the list year after year. The verticals and the classics, as well as the newcomers and the up-and-coming wines. My role is quite difficult, but I’m so happy for the team I work with,” said head sommelier Jean-Simon Rioux-Ranger at the event.

“A beautiful, complex list showcasing both classic and new-wave producers. The list thoroughly covers not only well-known appellations, but it also includes hidden gems and up-and-coming regions. Impressive verticals from numerous wineries are an added value,” said jury member Piotr Pietras.

Best Medium-Sized List
Recognizes the best wine list with 200-600 references.
[Gold Star]
MotherVine, Adelaide, Australia

“Thank you so much, it’s a great honour. I really didn’t expect this. Our list holds all the types of wines that we love to drink ourselves, but we also want to have wines for every kinds of tastes. Our name speaks of a clone, but we also have a love for Burgundy, which I think is reflected in the list,” said Mathieu Smeysters, sommelier and co-owner.

“This wine list highlights both national and international wines from exciting producers and manages to make the selection very diverse. The balance between different producer styles is successful and the offering is delightful throughout all pages,” said jury member Heidi Mäkinen MW.

Best Short List
Recognizes the best wine list with fewer than 200 listings.
[Gold Star]
De Nieuwe Winkel, Nijmegen, Netherlands

“Thank you, I feel very happy and honoured for the recognition. We try to do things differently, only cook plant-based for example. And our wine list is a reflection of that. We also have a beer sommelier, with an amazing list, and botanical cocktails. I want to send a big thank you to our owners who let me keep building this list, and thank you to all my colleagues,” said Gauthier Cauwels from De Nieuwe Winkel.

“Frankly, it’s easy (if expensive) to write a great wine list when you have several thousand selections. I’ve always believed that the truest mark of smarts is the ability to write a well-rounded and complete short wine list. Winkel has provided a list for every gustatory and financial appetite. Sure, there’s a focus upon cooler sites and Bordeaux is under-represented, but there are so many other wonderful options that it just doesn’t matter,” said jury member Doug Frost, Master Sommelier and Master of Wine.

Best Sparkling Wine List
Recognizes the best list with sparkling wines
This category is presented by Nyetimber
[Gold Star]
Ristorante del Lago, Bagno di Romagna, Italy

“We saw many wine lists with amazing Champagne selections; this one didn’t necessarily stand out for that but, rather, its crazy, nearly encyclopedic list of Italian bubblies. Okay, the Champagne list was great too,” said Doug Frost.

Best By the Glass List
Recognizes the best by the glass list.
[Gold Star]
Ten Minutes by Tractor, Main Ridge, Australia

“Thank you so much. I can only thank the wine team and the chefs, as well as our owners. Of course, people come to our restaurant to enjoy our own wines, but we want people to be able to enjoy a full restaurant experience, and enjoy other fantastic wines apart from ours,” said Kyle Barton from Ten Minutes by Tractor.

“Anyone entering this venue will be delighted by the offering by the glass, as it allows delving deep into different wine styles from around the world. Each choice, whether local or from further afield, is chosen carefully, so it would be a real struggle to choose what not to drink!” said jury member Heidi Mäkinen.

Best Newcomer List
Recognizes a venue that recently opened
[Gold Star]
Enoteca Boccaccio, Melbourne, Australia

“Thank you so much, such a great honour for us. Enoteca Boccaccio has been a dream project for my bosses, the d’Anna family. We’ve been open a little less than a year, and it has been such a lovely journey to build this list,” said wine director Elena Leardini.

“They may be newcomers but they offer a fantasy of some of the sexiest names in wine: Selosse, Krug, Raveneau, J.J. Prüm, Emidio Pepe, Rinaldi, and Borgogno, all with remarkable vertical selections. The largest of all the verticals? One of the greatest values in Italian wine: Produttori del Barbaresco,” said jury member Doug Frost.

Sustainable Wine List
For the Sustainable Wine List category, not only the wine list is evaluated, but also the stated actions of the venue, as described through a questionnaire in the application.
[Gold Star]
Esters Wine Shop & Bar, Santa Monica, USA

“It is always so inspiring to see more and more places looking for solutions to make a restaurant a more sustainable place, especially when it goes beyond just the selection of committed farmers and winemakers. This is what set Esters apart; actions and support not only to education and promotion of sustainable farming, but an involvement in the local community to help the needed environmental and social changes to happen,” said the jury’s Pascaline Lepeltier.

Here is the link to the winners:
starwinelist.com/wine-story/the-winners-in-our-international-open-with-competing-wine-lists-from-19-countries

“World’s Best Bars” Five Bestselling Classic Cocktails 2024

1. Negroni
We continue to live in the age of the aperitivo, with Italy’s contributions to our collective cocktail canon holding on to two brightly-coloured spots in the top 10 this year – the Aperol Spritz in eighth position, and this first-place winner for the third year running. There are plenty of easier-drinking cocktails on this list, yet the punchy Negroni, with its divisive bitterness, prevails. Unapologetically bold, but with depth and complexity, it’s an undisputed classic, and easy to reproduce too, with its equal-parts combination of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.

While its exact history is contested, the Negroni isn’t without pedigree. It’s a descendent of the Americano – sweet vermouth and Campari lengthened with soda water – and the Milano Torino before it, which omits the soda water. The most common Negroni origin story tells of an eponymous Italian count walking into a bar and ordering an Americano, but boozier. The obliging bartender drops the soda, adds some gin, and the rest is history, or at least one version of it. The bartender, the story goes, was Fosco Scarselli at Caffè Casoni in Florence, sometime around 1919.

Itself a twist on a classic, the Negroni has proven particularly adaptable over the years, with bartenders swapping out any and all of its trio of ingredients to create new drinks. Among the most revolutionary is the White Negroni in all its forms, but you’ll find a near-endless array of Tequila Negronis, Mezcal Negronis, Rum Negronis, and so on. One noteworthy variant, created in the 1970s and further popularised via TikTok in recent times, is attributed to Milan bartender Mirko Stocchetto. It’s said that while reaching for the gin for a Negroni, he accidentally grabbed a bottle of prosecco instead, creating a Spritz-like variant that has become known as the Negroni Sbagliato.

2. Old Fashioned
There was a time, back in the mid-to-late 1800s, when the art of the cocktail was becoming altogether too fancy for some people’s tastes. The uncomplicated beverages made to that earliest cocktail specification of spirit, sugar, water and bitters were starting to include such garish ingredients as maraschino liqueur or, heaven forbid, absinthe. As if in protest, these cocktail conservatives demanded their drinks be made the old-fashioned way, and the practice has continued.
This is, by definition, an unfussy drink, so it’s only fitting that one of the best modern takes is similarly unpretentious. The Oaxacan Old Fashioned, attributed to New York bartender Phil Ward, circa 2007, revisits each ingredient in turn, giving each a Mexican twist. Whiskey becomes tequila and mezcal, while sugar is replaced with agave, leaving room for interpretation when it comes to bitters – Ward kept it simple with classic Angostura. The result is faithful to the ethos of the original, while creating something entirely different.

3. Margarita
If there’s a drink whose various incarnations span everything from the sublime to the ridiculous, it’s the Margarita – perhaps unsurprising given the ubiquitousness of this tequila-based classic. At its heart, however, this is a beautifully simple classic, much like the pre-Prohibition drink that likely inspired it, the Daisy, a combination of spirit, lime juice and orange liqueur or grenadine. The tequila version became known by the Spanish word for daisy, margarita, which in turn became a byword for sunshine and good times the world over.

Nowadays it’s the more refined takes on the Margarita that are on the rise, with the Tommy’s re-entering the top 50 this year, and the Mezcal Margarita returning last year. Soho House, meanwhile, has added a trendy version of its own in recent times, the spicy Picante de la Casa, or Picante to its friends – now the most-ordered cocktail at the group’s bars.

4. Espresso Martini
Just one of many enduring gifts to the world of cocktails by the late, great Dick Bradsell, the Espresso Martini is certainly the most prevalent of his creations at the moment. Famously, Bradsell created the earliest version in the ’80s, at the Soho Brasserie on Old Compton Street in London, in response to a request from a young lady for “something that’s gonna wake me up, then fuck me up”.
The Espresso Martini certainly does all that, and more, as a deceptively simple classic that’s also become an excellent template for countless variations. The recent increase in its popularity is also responsible, at least in part, for today’s vibrant coffee liqueur category, which has arguably led to better modern-day versions of the classic. Meanwhile, there’s another coffee cocktail in town, or rather on this list. Increasingly found on cocktail menus recently is the Carajillo, a new entry this year at 38.

5. Daiquiri
A venerable classic such as the Daiquiri can’t be expected to have made it to the 21st century with the precise story of its origins intact – or without some questionable, brightly-coloured incarnations along the way, for that matter. While theories abound, dating the Daiquiri at least as far back as the late 1800s, the details are likely lost to the mists of time. What we do know is, done right, there’s nothing quite like this seemingly-simple combination of rum, lime and sugar.
It’s no wonder that the best variations, like the Hemingway Daiquiri, have become classics themselves. Audrey Saunders’ Old Cuban is a recent example, from the mid-2000s, which introduces mint and champagne, while Kevin Armstrong’s Dry Daiquiri, from a similar time period, adds Campari and passion fruit syrup. Both are a testament to the legacy of the cocktail that inspired them, and are marvellous drinks in their own right too.

IWSR Research: Who is winning in the moderation trend?

According to IWSR research conducted in late 2023 across the top 10 no/low markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US – 44% of no/low consumers said they had switched to a no-alcohol drink from another non-alcoholic drink, such as soft drinks, water, tea or coffee. This compares to 29% who replaced a full-strength alcohol product – although this was significantly up on the 2022 figure.

“No-alcohol drinkers generally come from other non-alcoholic beverages, but also now increasingly from full-strength categories,” says Susie Goldspink, Head of No- and Low-Alcohol Insights, IWSR. “There is also an increase in the proportion of no-alcohol consumers planning to increase their no-alcohol consumption.

“Increasingly, alcohol companies see no-alcohol especially as an opportunity for growth. Moderation is an established trend, and no-alcohol products which keep customers within a category – for example, switching beer for no-alcohol beer – or within a brand portfolio – say, switching Heineken for Heineken 0.0 – offer an option to alcohol businesses to hold on to revenue and continue to build brand equity.”

As a result, a number of brand owners across the beverage alcohol marketplace have invested heavily behind zero-alcohol versions of leading brands, or have either acquired or developed ‘pure-play’ no-alcohol brands, to target these opportunities. IWSR’s Innovation Tracker shows that the number of no-alcohol innovations coming to market globally has more than tripled since 2019, with numbers peaking in 2020 for launches of brand extensions as well as new-to-world products.
Consumer attitudes, however, are somewhat different within low-alcohol: here, 40% of those surveyed said they had replaced a full-strength alternative with a low-alcohol product, with 33% switching from another non-alcoholic drink.

“Full-strength alcohol categories continue to be replaced the most by low-alcohol beverages – particularly replacing beer/cider, for example in Spain and Brazil,” explains Goldspink.

“Meanwhile, spirits are being replaced more in markets such as the US and South Africa, where spirits are the most purchased full-strength category.”

IWSR consumer research also suggests that people who don’t currently participate in the no-/low-alcohol category could also be potential targets for brand owners in the future.

“More than half of non-consumers of no/low are either moderating their alcohol intake (26%) or don’t drink alcohol at all (28%) – offering a further untapped opportunity for producers of no- and low-alcohol brands,” explains Goldspink.

“There is also evidence from our recent consumer research that in many markets, no-alcohol products recruit consumers who aren’t drinking in a certain occasion or switching between both. These might be ‘Substituters’ (those who switch between alcohol and no-alcohol in different occasions) or ‘Blenders’ (mixing alcohol and no-alcohol in the same occasion).

“In both cases, these occasions offer an incremental opportunity for a brand owner to sell a product to a consumer who otherwise would not have been buying one of their products.”

Meanwhile, the emergent segment of functional beverages – ‘alcohol adjacents’ with active ingredients such as CBD, adaptogens or nootropics that claim to offer health benefits, stress reduction, mood alteration and pleasure – is beginning to attract younger consumers (Gen Z, Millennials) in particular.

According to IWSR data, the purchase of cognitive enhancers has increased over the past year, driven by growth in Australia and the US – where up to 29% of Millennials have made purchases in the category.

“CBD and other nootropic/adaptogenic products could provide a future challenge to alcohol consumption, particularly with younger legal drinking age consumers who are more likely to participate in this category,” says Goldspink.

“This generation participates in a broader repertoire of beverages in this space, as well as generally still consuming alcohol. As such, for brand owners looking to shape their future category, it’s really all about offering consumer choice to suit different occasions.”

The growth of the overall no/low-alcohol category gives brands the opportunity to cater to a much wider group of consumers. In many ways, no/low can be thought of as a solution to a gap in the market, rather than as a threat to the incumbents.

Source:IWSR