The hottest beverage trends for 2016

By Rieva Lesonsky

Beverages have gotten as trendy as food—the “hot” ones can drive consumers to your bar, restaurant or food store, and if you time it right you could become the “hot spot” in your city or town.

But there could be even more entrepreneurial opportunity in being a supplier and creating/manufacturing these new beverages.

So what should you know for 2016? In a guest post on Smart Blog on Food & Beverage, Ilana Orlofsky, the marketing coordinator at Imbibe, a company that develops beverages for top brands and retail chains, predicts “2016 will be all about drinking for health.” That means, she adds, “Consumers will be focused on transparency, the brand story and function from natural sources.”

Other trends to keep your eyes on:

Spicy drinks are in. Look for beverages with capsaicin (found in spicy peppers) which some say can boost metabolism, or ginger, which Orlofsky  says sooths upset stomachs and boosts immunity.

Flavored water is still in favor. New this year, says Orlofsky, is something called switchel, a 17th century beverage made from water, vinegar, ginger and honey or maple syrup. “Vinegar-based drinks aid digestion, reduce blood pressure and help with weight management,” she explains. Coconut water will still be popular, and will be joined by maple, birch, cactus and rose waters.

Nutritional drinks will be in demand. Orlofsky says these include “beverages (water, tea, coffee and beer) fortified with protein” and those intended to be a meal substitute (Orlofsky calls it “on-the-go nutrition”).

Also look for “sparkling coffee and coffee/tea hybrids,” and, Orlofsky says, “As medicinal and recreational marijuana becomes legal across the U.S., cannabis-based beverages will also become more readily available.”

Photo courtesy: Up Mountain Switchel