Drink To That: Experts Outline 5 Trends On the 2011 Alcohol Forecast

Speaking of Popular Drinks and Pop Culture

We’d be remiss to talk about the next martini, without acknowledging the pop culture boost that helped to propel the original martini craze (even though there’s some agreement that you may not have actually been drinking martinis). That’s right, Sex and the City. The same show that led bus loads of tourists to the Magnolia Bakery for cupcakes also played a role in making the martini glass the de facto drink accessory. With shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire that feature alcohol as something of a supporting character, are period pieces the new arbiters of modern nightlife cool?

Adasko says “pop culture is so fragmented and it tends to be that the actual cocktail culture is one step ahead of media. We could see eccentric cocktails with kitschy names and designer embellishments (Lady Gaga) or mysterious deep hued steaming cocktails (Twilight).”

Nearly everyone agreed that both Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men were heavy influences in the revived interest in straight drinks and prohibition era brands though.

“It seems like Boardwalk Empire generated some new interest in Canadian Club, a brand with a wonderfully rich history (as evidenced by the pre-prohibition stash still resting in the basement of New York’s 21 Club). I expect mid-century brands and cocktails to continue the climb back to the mainstream as American culture begins to reacquaint itself with authenticity,” says Phillips.

Geshury points to Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks’ letter to men in Esquire as further evidence: “she said ‘We want you to order Scotch. It’s the most impressive drink order. It’s classic. It’s sexy. Such a rich color. The glass, the smell. It’s not watered down with fruit juice. It’s Scotch. And you ordered it.’

There’s a return to strong straight drinks for men because of Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men, and interest in craft mixology in part because of -believe it or not- a Lady Gaga song where she’s angry that her ex would rather sip drinks at NYC’s Death and Company over spending time with her.”

Lermayer hasn’t noticed an overwhelming throng of Boardwalk Empire or Mad Men influenced orders, but “can say that you can’t underestimate the power of pop culture and television. A current example would be Entourage and its launch of Avion tequila. Literally overnight, South Beach hipsters were pouring in looking for this brand.”

In Brief: If you’re looking to tap into drink trends that will resonate with patrons, or just an idea for look no further than the popular TV shows in the market you’re targeting.

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