Trends & Issues Affecting the On-Premise Beverage Community – Leaders Share Their Views

What are the most important trends and issues affecting the on-premise beverage community?

For this Bar & Restaurant round-up, we asked on-premise beverage leaders and beverage suppliers/brands from across the country for their thoughts.

Here's what 11 professionals in the on-premise beverage community had to say about what’s trending and key industry topics.

To learn more, you can also plan to attend the attend the next Vibe Conference, Feb. 27 to March 3, 2023, at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, where the on-premise beverage community will gather to discuss key topics, issues and trends. Attendees will include on-premise beverage leaders, executives, buyers, suppliers, distributors and service providers, among others. Visit to learn more and to get on the guest list.


“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a massive shift towards, and increase in popularity of, low- and no-ABV drink choices. As more consumers are looking for quality over quantity, more on-premise accounts have started incorporating low-ABV cocktails and spritz serves in addition to a variety of non-alcoholic offerings onto their menus. Double Dutch’s versatile line of premium mixers can be enjoyed in low-ABV cocktails and mocktails, or even sipped solo due to their flavorful taste combinations.”

- Joyce and Raissa De Haas (pictured above), flavor experts and the founders of Double Dutch, Europe’s premium tonic brand that just made its debut in the United States

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“As consumer’s continue to become sober curious, it’s important that the on-premise speeds up the adoption of this desire for more non-alcoholic adult beverage choices. The days of having one brand represented ‘just in case someone asks’ are gone. Consumers are demanding more choices, so retailers should meet the consumer there with brands like Lagunitas IPNA, Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher, Heineken 0.0 or Athletic brews.”

- Tony Amaral, head of sales for The Lagunitas Brewing Company, a Northern California brewery that expanded to more than 38 countries with its No. 1 selling IPA

Tony Amaral - The Lagunitas Brewing Company
Tony Amaral, The Lagunitas Brewing Company (Photo: Courtesy of The Lagunitas Brewing Company)

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“Functional garnishes are really becoming popular in on-premise cocktails. We are seeing flowers in cocktails, but they’re garnishes; they actually serve purpose. Blooms of all sorts add different elements and flavors to a cocktail and can even transform the beverage as you’re drinking it. They can be sweet, umami, earthy and funky. For example, hibiscus has always been popular in Mexico, but now we are seeing it used in cocktails across the country. It adds a nice sweetness to the drink, while giving it a beautiful deep red color. At No Man’s Land, we have a cocktail called The Proper Buzz. It’s got gin, passion fruit, lemon, honey and dehydrated lemon. It’s topped with a buzz button flower. We tell our guests to start drinking the cocktail normally and then after a few sips to be sure to eat the buzz button. The flower releases an active compound that gives the mouth a tingling sensation and stimulates the saliva glands so it induces a cooling effect. This completely transforms the cocktail experience from what it was the first few sips.”

- Chevy Farrell, beverage director for Garrett Hospitality Group, including Ya Mas! Mediterranean taverna and No Man’s Land cocktail parlor

Chevy Farrell - Garrett Hospitality Group
Chevy Farrell, Garrett Hospitality Group (Photo: Courtesy of Garrett Hospitality Group)

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"Based on several factors, including the ongoing labor shortage and rising cost of goods, things remain exceeding tough for bars and restaurants. Leaning into the consumer trend towards healthier, more mindful drinking will allow the on-premise to make more money on every check, while also making things easier for bartenders and servers who may be stretched thin. One-third of adults don't drink alcohol. It's disappointing for the patron and it leaves money on the table for the establishment, when those who aren't drinking alcohol are offered anything less than a true cocktail experience like Mocktails. We do believe that given another year, it will be the norm to have great alternatives in the adult beverage space in most establishments, because consumers who are living healthier and more mindfully than ever before in history are seeking them out."

- Bill Gamelli, CEO and co-founder of the original Mocktails, a non-alcoholic premium RTD beverage line

 Bill Gamelli - Mocktails
 Bill Gamelli, Mocktails (Photo: Courtesy of Mocktails)

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“The most immediate issue I hear from bars and restaurants is availability of labor and the rising cost of everything. I also hear some worry about whether customers are going to continue to dine out as much as they are if inflation stays high. Looking farther down the road, I see both challenges and opportunity in the increased number of products on the market – both the sheer number of distilleries/wineries/breweries producing amazing product and the explosion in the RTD category. Keeping up with all the new and expanding categories is getting harder, but this also comes with the opportunity to provide a larger variety of products to an increasingly diverse customer.”

- Alan Dietrich, CEO of Crater Lake Spirits, makers of small-batch spirits, handcrafted in Bend, Ore.

Alan Dietrich - Crater Lake Spirits
Alan Dietrich, Crater Lake Spirits (Photo: Courtesy of Crater Lake Spirits)

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“The most important issue is the shortage of qualified personnel. This is an amazing industry to work in, but it is tough and very mentally and physically taxing. Without mentorship and a supportive environment, young people entering this business can easily be overwhelmed and not see the amazing boundaries we push in the food and beverage in the industry. I think this has gotten worse as we emerge from COVID, as many have left the industry and the public is clamoring to eat and drink out of their homes. New people are being thrown to the wolves and that hurts our industry. The only other time like this would be prohibition, when nearly all the skilled barmen left the U.S. or changed profession. The cocktail, which is America's biggest culinary invention, stopped being American as the centers for cocktail creation and development moved with the barmen outside of the country.”

- Clay Livingston, general manager and beverage director of Offshore Rooftop & Bar, the world's largest rooftop deck atop the historic Navy Pier in Chicago

Clay Livingston - Offshore Rooftop and Bar
Clay Livingston, Offshore Rooftop & Bar (Photo: Courtesy of Offshore Rooftop)

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“The recent agave shortage has led me to branch out from my usual or typical spirits, as it’s been hard for us to source some of the name-brand tequila’s I’m used to. This means I have had to explore with other liquors as bases for my cocktails, like Pisco in our KOMO Passion. I’ve also been able to work with other high-end suppliers, such as Komos Tequila, which has received great feedback in the restaurant. As a mixologist, I am always looking for new ways to improve my recipes and make something special for guests, even with unexpected bumps in the road. Another post-pandemic issue we have figured out how to navigate around. The supply chain and allocation to bigger businesses has forced us to stay incredibly creative. I’m grateful for the opportunity to do what I love every day, making unique and delicious concoctions for all to enjoy.”

- Javi Gonzalez, mixologist and bar manager of KOMO Chicago, a “boundless Japanese experience”

Javi Gonzalez - KOMO Chicago
Javi Gonzalez, KOMO Chicago (Photo: Courtesy of KOMO)

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“The most critical issue currently in the hospitality space right now is establishing and utilizing robust systems to run your daily operations. Staffing bars and restaurants are harder now than it has ever been. Immediately before the pandemic, there was a wild excess of skilled and experienced staff pining for a place to work despite new establishments opening up almost weekly. Now, after the peak of the pandemic, we have still yet to rebound in the number of open accounts, yet businesses are struggling to staff skeleton crews. Owners and operators need to focus on developing and using strong systems to help manage daily operations in order to free up bandwidth and make sure they can successfully operate with limited staffing on the schedule. This includes ordering, inventory, communication, SOPs and beyond.”

- Chris Bidmead, founder of Bar Methods, a program that focuses on education and consulting for the bar and restaurant industry

Chris Bidmead - Bar Methods
Chris Bidmead, Bar Methods (Photo: Courtesy of Bar Methods)

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“In my experience, a trend in beverages that has stayed relevant is the use of artisanal spirits and modifiers from around the world. I believe in this trend and its positive influence on the cocktail community, but the present challenge is the availability of these spirits. Supply chain issues in the past several years have created a new obstacle for the modern bartender. Developing a seasonal cocktail menu is already a challenge, but a scarcity of critical ingredients adds another hurdle to implementing your vision for the bar.”

- Marcelino G Figueiras, beverage director for Hecho Restaurant Group in Jersey City, N.J., consisting of craft cocktail bar Dullboy and several craft new-age Mexican restaurants called Orale Mexican Kitchen

Marcelino G Figueiras - Hecho Restaurant Group
Marcelino G Figueiras, Hecho Restaurant Group  (Photo: Courtesy of Hecho Restaurant Group )

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“One of the top trends we’re seeing in the on-premise beverage community is the request for organic drinks. Consumers are more health-conscious than they’ve been in the past, and they’re requesting organic, non-GMO, and caffeine-free beverages. They prefer for what they put into their bodies to be free of artificial ingredients and sugars if possible. On-premise beverage suppliers will do well if they start to carry these health-conscious beverages to serve the high demand we’re seeing.”

- Steven Vigilante, head of new business development for OLIPOP, a soda that tastes like a tonic but with the added benefit of microbiome and digestive health support

Steven Vigilante - OLIPOP
Steven Vigilante, OLIPOP (Photo: Courtesy of OLIPOP)

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“One of the most encouraging trends we saw emerge during COVID was the loosening of local and state laws to allow for on-premises to meet in-house drink kits. To-go alcoholic beverage orders tripled during the pandemic and are still going strong. These pre-made beverages served as a sales lifeline to many, as well as extending their brand awareness into the home bar.”

- Jon Squire, CEO of CardFree, a platform for ordering, payments and loyalty, empowering businesses to create customized all-in-one digital solutions

Erin Flynn Jay is a reporter and publicist based in Philadelphia. She’s a Bar & Restaurant contributor, and some of her other writing credits include Next Avenue and Woman’s World, among many others.

Plan to Attend or Participate in the
Vibe Conference, Feb. 27 – March 1, 2023

To learn more about the latest trends, issues and hot topics, and to experience and taste the best products within the on-premise beverage community, plan to attend the Vibe Conference, Feb. 27 to March 1, 2023 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. Visit

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at the Vibe Conference, contact:

Fadi Alsayegh
Sales & Sponsorships
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 917-258-5174

Donna Bruns
Sales & Sponsorships
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 936-522-6932

Charlie Forman
Sales & Sponsorships
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 845-262-1041

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