Tapping into the New: What’s Changing in The World of Beverages

May 21, 2024

Gen Z’s preferences are driving significant changes in the beer industry, emphasizing diverse flavors and unique experiences. This generation continues the trend of reduced alcohol consumption, with nearly a third of adults aged 21-24 never drinking, according to a 2023 CivicScience survey. As a result, there is a growing demand for non-alcoholic beers, and breweries like The Brass Tap are responding by offering a variety of flavorful non-alcoholic options. Partnerships with companies such as Athletic Brewing have helped meet this demand, and non-alcoholic options now make up about 9% of their product list.

Even among those who do drink, Gen Z shows distinct preferences. They prioritize quality over quantity, often choosing higher ABV beers initially and then switching to lower or non-alcoholic options.


Beyond Beer

Bars, restaurants, and stadiums across the country are undergoing a major shift in beverage preferences, with cocktails on tap replacing beer. Establishments are increasingly offering draft cocktails like negronis, margaritas, and Mai Tais instead of traditional draft beers. Despite being pre-made by bartenders or distributors, these draft cocktails can still deliver quality and flavor, as cocktail educator Tiffanie Barriere noted.


This transition from beer to cocktails on tap is accompanied by a decline in kegged beer sales, with on-tap beer consumption dropping about 5 percent year over year in 2023. The number of draft lines dedicated to non-beer products has surged to approximately 10,000, up from 1,500 before the pandemic. Pre-made cocktails offer benefits for both customers and bar owners, as they are quicker to serve, requiring no shaking or muddling. This trend suggests a growing acceptance and preference for draft cocktails, potentially transforming the traditional tapline offerings in the hospitality industry.


The Raw Deal, a fair-trade hub in downtown Menomonie, has introduced a new product: kombucha from Manifest Kombucha Co. of River Falls. Known for its diverse selection of ready-to-go beer, wine, tea, fresh-roasted coffee, in-house sweets, and snacks, The Raw Deal now offers this gut-friendly beverage made from black tea cultured by bacteria and yeast. Customers can enjoy unique spring flavors such as hibiscus lemon, pineapple ginger, and mint mojito, available on tap in 8- or 12-ounce glasses, or grab a bottle to go.

Curious Cork
Curious Cork has 64 Wines on Tap

Orlando’s newest Wine Bar, Curious Cork, utilizes an innovative, Italian wine-serving technology – Enomatic – which allows guests to taste a variety of delicious vintage wines. Currently there are 64 self-pour wine taps at their Lake Nona location.


Whether you’re a fan of traditional draft beers or curious to try a kegged cocktail, the next time you ask what’s on tap, you might find a delightful surprise waiting for you. Cheers to the future of taplines and the ever-evolving world of beverages!