Flavor Trends 2018 – Alcoholic Beverages

Flavor Trends 2018 – Alcoholic Beverages


Given the size of the alcoholic beverage industry and the diverse nature of the products offered, it is challenging to identify flavor trends.  Our report has been compiled using sales, sampling, and project request information. Discussions with customers and information gathered by participation in trade shows and other industry events has also helped shape this report. 


A trends is a general direction in which something is developing or changing.   In this our first published report, we have included only flavors that we see trending across multiple categories.  We have compiled trend information for the last three years.  If previously published a number of these flavors and flavor types would have appeared.  Those emerging flavors and flavors types added for the first time are indicate with an asterisk.


The trending flavor types that we have identified are the following


Health & Wellness * – some flavors were previously categorized as Spice & Herb


Sweet Brown

Varietal Orange * – some flavors were previously categorized under Citrus


Indulgent *



Spice & Herb



Health & Wellness Extracts:


Many consumer are interested in extracts they perceive offer functional benefits that contribute to health and wellness.  These extracts can often be categorized in more than one flavor type.  We have added this new flavor type to identify extracts perceived to offer functional health and wellness benefits as well as flavor.


Fresh Ginger and other ginger types

Matcha Green Tea *

Rosemary *


Florals Extracts:

Consumer interest in clean labels and natural products has spurred the use of floral extracts, which are perceived to be cleaner, healthier and more natural than many other flavors.  Floral infusions and extracts were historically used to flavor beer, cider and wine when other flavor ingredients were not available.   

Elderflower *

Rose *



Orange Blossom


Varietal Orange Extracts:

Tangerine * – has now surpassed Blood Orange as most requested orange varietal

Clementine *

Blood Orange


Bitter Orange * – This orange is described as such because the fruit is not edible.   Bitter oranges are grown typically for the peel. 

Sweet Brown Flavors:

Maple – Maple flavor is being used in many different alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverage categories as both a standalone flavor and in combination with bourbon, bacon, chocolate and other flavors.

Caramel * – a possible replacement for pumpkin pie spice as a fall seasonal for breweries.

Bourbon & Bourbon Barrel *

Indulgent Flavors:

Oatmeal Cookie *

Pecan Pie *


Citrus Extracts:


Bergamot * – best known as the flavor of Earl Grey Tea, bergamot is now being evaluated in a wide range of alcoholic beverage applications.

Meyer Lemon


Tropical Flavors:


Guava – has become the most requested of the non-mainstream tropical flavors.



Spice & Herb Extracts:

Driven by consumer interest in ethnic ingredients and the increase in popularity of Thai, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian cuisines. Supported by a desire among millennial’s for a sensory “experience” that some spices provide – primarily heat and pungency.


Lemongrass – used as an alternative to lemon in a number of beverages. 

Cardamom – typically used in combination with other flavors.

Specific chilies (habanero, ghost and other) – Provides heat as well as perceived health and wellness benefits.

Black Pepper * – Provides pungency as well as perceived health and wellness benefits

Ginger – Provides pungency as well as perceived health and wellness benefits. 


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