After craft beer and the gin revival, what are the next big drinking trends?

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9 February
14:12
11 February
20:45

There are a few things. In the last couple of years there’s been a big rise in brown spirits, particularly whisky. There’s been a big leap towards bourbon and Irish whiskey.

Irish whiskey is certainly making a comeback. It’s been the fastest growing spirit in the world in the last two years. That’s probably because it’s a bit lighter than most Scotches. It’s a bit easier, more approachable and a bit less intimidating for younger drinkers.


Pernod Ricard - the owners of Jameson - has been pushing it very hard in the States and it has seen market share shoot up. There are also a number of distilleries opening in Ireland. If you go back four years ago there were only three operating distilleries in Ireland. By 2020, there’s going to be 25 to 30. It’s going through a huge renaissance at the moment, very much supported by the Irish government.

In the past, Irish whiskey, certainly in the UK, suffered from something of an image problem. In a very similar way to gin did before its recent resurgence. It was seen as a fusty, old spirit and very much the poor relation when compared to Scotch.

"Irish whiskey has stepped into that convivial social space. Scotch doesn’t really have that allure - you generally think of Scotch as being a solitary drink"

However, Irish whiskey has stepped into that convivial social space. Scotch doesn’t really have that allure - you generally think of Scotch as being a solitary drink. Sat by the fire on your own in a leather armchair - now that’s not always the case of course, but it’s the perception. Irish whiskey, because it’s lighter and mixes well, it’s more of a pub drink.

"Mezcal tends to be a bit more artisanal and a bit stronger. It has more intense flavours than tequila does"

Elsewhere, Mezcal is making its way its way from hipster bars into the mainstream. It’s a close relative of tequila - it’s also made from agave plants, although tequila is only made from the blue agave plant. Mezcal tends to be a bit more artisanal and a bit stronger. It has more intense flavours than tequila does. It’s more of a sipping spirit and the alcohol content is much stronger - over 45% ABV. It has a lot of intense flavours going on - quite smoky, in the same manner that some whiskies are smoky.

It became quite cool in hipster enclaves in East London a few years ago and it’s started to get some traction in the mainstream now. I don’t know how huge it will become, but I think you can expect to see it in the spirit offering of pubs, whereas that wouldn’t have been the case before. Irish whiskey, however, is definitely one for the mainstream.

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