Between a new president, new vaccines, and, sadly, new variants, 2021 was a whirlwind year that brought with it more of the unfamiliar. The drinks world seemed to have followed this trend, introducing us to unexpected beverages like smoothie seltzer and RanchNog.
But, after a very rough 2020, beverage alcohol professionals made major comebacks this year, too, bringing with them contemporary takes on classic cocktails, a compelling blend of music and wine, and so much more. And while some of these new products and innovations are getting us excited for what the new year will bring (bottled Topo Chico hard seltzer, anyone?), there are other trends we’d prefer to leave in 2021 (along with butterfly clips and pistachio milk).
From the financialization of booze to gimmicky collaborations, these are the drinks trends to which we’re bidding adieu in 2022.
Piquette (For Real This Time)
When is the wine world going to finally give up on piquette? The effervescent, low-ABV beverage has roots dating back centuries and is known for its funky, sessionable nature. But while the drink may have been a media darling in 2021, we’re ready to move on to bigger, bubblier sparkling wines.
Piquette may be beloved by industry pros of late, but its lack of flavor concentration and watery mouthfeel make the drink fall flat against similarly priced hard seltzers with more mainstream flavor profiles. The wine-like beverage — made from wine pomace — was once thought to be unworthy of consumption by paying customers. We’d argue this should never have changed.
Judging Drinks By Their Labels
For design-savvy consumers, there has never been a better time to browse the aisles of liquor stores and bottle shops. With minimalist packaging on low- and no-ABV products and geometric and psychedelic beer cans, there’s no shortage of booze on the market to please both the eye and taste buds of any drink lover.
But just because a can, bottle, or carton catches the eye, doesn’t always mean the liquid inside will deliver. These design-forward labels often say little about the beverage itself, making it incredibly difficult to tell which products are worth buying. Rather than drinking with your eyes, talk to your local wine retailer about what you’re looking for. After all, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Or, if you’re committed to the aesthetic, check out these nice looking — and tasting — bottles and cans, recommended by VinePair’s associate designer, Ariela Basson.
Heavy Wine Bottles
In case you’ve been living under a rock, our planet is warming. And the wine industry is not without fault when it comes to climate change. While boxes, cans, and even plant-based alternatives are continuously being released, glass bottles are still king in the world of vino. These bottles typically weigh a little over 1 pound, meaning the environmental cost of making them and transporting them is high, releasing significant carbon emissions.
If these standard bottles already impact the environment, the brands that use bottles that are twice as heavy are doubly harmful. In 2022, let’s let go of these weighty bottles and instead opt for packaging options that are friendlier to the earth (and our biceps).
The emergence of cryptocurrency, Web3, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs), has traveled from our bank accounts to the beer aisle. And while we have no issue with folks who enjoy investing their money in things they care about, we must say we’re getting a little sick of our IPAs being served with a side of crypto bro mansplaining.
While we can see how some of these investment opportunities are worth the spend, others come with a host of empty promises — and others, empty wine glasses. So in 2022, we’ll be keeping our funds right where we can see them: on our bar carts.
We at VinePair love a good collaboration. They can bring people together and, more importantly, promote good causes. But recently, it seems some collabs have gone too far.
From Grey Poupon’s mustard wine and Sonic’s hard seltzer, to Tattersall Distilling x Arby’s french fry vodka and Hidden Valley’s RanchNog cocktail kit, 2021 felt like the proverbial wall at which all the drinks gimmicks spaghetti was thrown. We don’t know what’s going to stick (we certainly hope it’s not Oreo wine), but we do know that if these collabs don’t stop soon, it won’t be long before we see SNL-approved J.C. Penny hard seltzer on grocery shelves.