Drinks trends/predictions going into 2017

Drinks trends/predictions – 2017

Who knew what 2016 would have to offer? We’ve had the gin boom, the coffee boom, the Japanese whisky boom – but what are the hot new drinks trends and predictions going into 2017?  We’ve been chatting to some of our staff, suppliers and customers to get an insight into what they see as the Drinks trends/predictions going into 2017.

Just the tonic!

T but without the G!!

After a huge swell in the popularity of the gin scene, it’s time for tonic to come out of the bottom of the fridge/back of the cupboard and stand on its own two feet, but it won’t be doing it alone. Are you all ginned out? The gin boom has spurred tonic along! Fever Tree is predicted a spectacular 77% growth, and the doubling of tonic sales across the on-trade and online.  We are seeing the vodka & red bull consumer become more mature and seeking the less sweet option. Bartenders are increasingly looking for more interesting and different things to do and go with tonic.

As a result, tonic is now teaming up with whisky, sherry (a drop of Pedro Ximenez sherry is extremely nice!!),  rum, tequila and mezcal.

Craft cider

Where craft beer leads, cider is sure to follow (with whackier fruit mixes first!). Watch out for the same phenomenon happening for all the same reasons.  It’s the natural next step for the drink.  Want a peak into the future? Have a look at what our neighbours at Hogans have planned for the new year.


Yeah yeah we know this isn’t exactly a ‘new trend/prediction” but keep reading to see how the much loved cocktail is looking to evolve!

Pre Mixed Cocktails

It was only a matter of time before this cocktail trend came back. Now, we’re not talking about shop bought margherita mix here, but high quality, ready to go batch made classics.  Lets face it, maintaining consistency when serving large quantities of cocktails can be fairly tricky.  Training bartenders is mighty expensive; the length of time for each serve can be horrific, especially on peak session.  We have seen a few pass through our doors but the best by far is our brochure front page feature from Tails.  View the range

But take it from us they are pretty dam good and really do make serving cocktails a breeze!

Pisco cocktails

You may have heard of a Pisco Sour, but the growing pisco movement ranges far afield. Pisco, for those who’ve never tried it, is a white spirit that’s made in the grape-growing regions of Peru and Chile. Some call it a brandy, although you’re not likely to drink it straight up. Pisco these days is the base liquor for many different drinks.

Have a look at our Pisco selection here

Beer cocktails

You won’t have an availability problem with drinks made with a beer base. One of the most basic is a shandy, whilst in America our our Ops manager Lee noticed a ‘Summer Shandy’ which ticked a number of boxes!! It’s essentially a weiss beer or pale ale mixed with lemonade.

Moving beyond shandy, you may want to check out one of these beer cocktail recipes that were featured at a seminar called The Perfectly Poured Beer Cocktail at Tales last week. Its a decent read and gives a step by step guide of how to create a perfect beers cocktail.

If you decide to make your own beer cocktails, try not to use more than 100ml beer. Stir for maximum flavor, shake if you want lots of foam. And, experiment with the spirits you mix with beer, as well as the beers you mix with different spirits. We have listed a few that we think work.. (its a tough job!)

  • Lager: Genever, white rum, blanco tequila, Old Tom, cachaca, pisco, mezcal, Grand Marnier
  • Dark Ales: Bourbon, dark rum, Vs cognac, St. Germain, mezcal, blanco tequila, white rum
  • Farmhouse Ale: Cognac, aged rum, tequila, gin, Tennessee whisky, Old Tom, cachaca, pisco, Compari, orange liqueurs, cherry liqueurs
  • IPAs: Pisco, amari, mezcal, blanco tequila, Old Tom, orange liqueurs, cherry liqueurs, Campari
  • Pilsner: Genever, gin, Old Tom, mezcal, Tennessee whisky, orange liqueurs, cherry liqueurs, Campari
  • Sour Beers: Sweet vermouth, gin, blanco, tequila, elderflower
  • Stouts: Rye whiskey, bourbon, aged rum, brandy, Grand Marnier, Old Tom, cherry liqueurs, mezcal
  • Witbier: Gin, blanco tequila, white run, Cognac, Old Tom, Genever, pisco, Tennessee whisky, Campari, orange liqueurs.



Unfortunately we are already seeing prices [from producers] go up, and it is forecasted that it will be going up by around 7%

However, the upside is that home-grown products that won’t incur this kind of increase are well-positioned to benefit hugely from the Brex-IN effect – both within the UK and at export.

However our Chairman Dennis Hall adds a very important caveat “To take advantage of such an uncertain ‘Brexit’ outcome largely relies on producers being savvy enough to maximize their advantage and not mirror the increased prices of their European counter-parts” 

“There are lots of quality products – and they are going after certain styles and making them their own,” he said, pointing to the guys at The Cotswold Distillery and the well-documented rise and rise of English Sparkling wine from the likes of Lyme Bay Wines & Chapel Down Winery.

“All these people are doing this with confidence and it will be very interesting [to see it develop],” he said.

Move over Japan

The phenomenal rise of Japanese whisky took the category by storm and would be too easy to keep in 2017 predictions but as globally sales have gone “ballistic” means with the high demand, shrinking stocks, product shortfall and increasing prices, the search is on for the next big producer. Although Indian whisky is promising, Singh our money is on Taiwan as the likely contender.

So far, Taiwan has two distilleries – one is state-owned and has released one whisky so far, the other is Ka-va-lan, which opened in 2006 and is not only set to reach its full 4,500m L capacity this year, but is set to double in size in the next six months with the addition of nine new pot stills.

One of Taiwan’s benefits is its cool temperature and high humidity, which helps age whiskies fast, meaning that a 3-4 year old aged whisky from Taiwan is roughly equivalent of a 12-15 year old whisky in Scotland. This gives the nation a distinct advantage when it comes to scaling up production and meeting demand,  Ka-va-lan in particular has shown itself keen to experiment with different wood and even imported peat, to produce a broad range of different whisky expressions.

We currently have the Ka-val-lan Single Malt available for – £56.36 + VAT – Contact us if you think this is something you like the sound of.

Coffee cocktails

Coffee and alcohol seem to be natural partners so seemed an obvious inclusion for a 2017 prediction — think Irish Coffee, or Kahlua and coffee.  But modern coffee cocktails go beyond simply adding a jigger of booze to a cup of coffee.  Now that coffee brewing has become an art form, it’s only natural that artisanal coffees are being turned into artisanal cocktails.

It makes perfect sense, since in many restaurants, bartenders also are in charge of making espresso drinks, and it’s a good use for coffee that otherwise would be served over ice. One popular recipe is the Beccacino, by bartending icon Murray Stenson. He told Imbibe magazine that the Beccacino is an old Seattle bar recipe, combining brandy, Benedictine, amaretto, Irish Mist and cold-brewed coffee. (Most likely, the old-timers just used plain old cold coffee.)

If you’re interested in experimenting, check out this list of Tales of the Cocktail’s 2016 award-winning bars and bartenders worldwide.

Not so ‘Hot’ off the press!

One of the products we’ve seen sell well over the Christmas period is the emergence of cold-brew or cold pressed coffee liqueurs.  our favourite is Mr Black that launched in December 2015. The trend comes of the back of the increasingly craft-ification of the coffee scene, where the coffee cognoscenti are seeking out small-batch, on-the-spot roasted cold-brew coffee.

Paul Wilkins our Purchasing Director says “Mr Blacks ticks the boxes for provenance, authenticity and quality, and its “good ethos is combined with great packaging”.

It uses around 30kg of coffee beans to produce 250 bottle, in an industry where everyone else is using essences and making sugar-heavy products,” he says. “So you can taste the coffee and though it is sweet, it’s not sickly because it has a less harsh extraction process.

The Perfect Serve

The perfect serve requires the perfect glass.

Have you ever wondered why you get different beer in different glasses?

Surely it’s the beer that matters, well whilst the beer is the star of the show the glass you use has an effect on both your perception and how you experience the beer. The right glass allows you to experience a beer at its best.

Below is a list of different glasses and when they are best used.


The Pint

Pint – Comes in Conical, Nonik, Jug or Tulip varieties. Traditionally used for low ABV session-style beers. The workhorse of the glass world, its broad opening allows the aroma of a beer to flourish. If in doubt a Pint glass will always do a decent job.

Traditionally used to serve:

  • Blonde Ales
  • Brown Ales
  • California Common or Steam Beer
  • Cream Ales
  • English Bitter
  • Extra Special Bitters (ESB)
  • India Pale Ales (IPA)
  • Lagers
  • Pale Ales (APA)
  • Porters
  • Red Ales
  • Rye Beers
  • Stouts

Weissbier Vase

Weissbier Vase – As the name suggests these glasses are designed for Hefeweizens, the vase shape accentuates the hazy body and gives ample room for the fragrant foam head.

Traditionally used to serve:

  • All Wheat Beers
  • Dunkelweizen
  • Hefeweizen
  • Kristalweizen
  • Gose
  • Weizenbock


Tulip – Shaped to allow you to sniff and swirl whilst also giving you the ability to appreciate the colours and carbonation. The lipped top also helps to maintain the head of a beer. Initially used for Belgian beers these glasses have spread to other types of beer and are a staple of many craft beer pubs.

Traditionally used to serve:

  • Belgian Ales
  • India Pale Ales (IPAs)
  • Pale Ales
  • Strong Ales


Goblet – Large bowl shaped glasses used for strong beers, associated with Dubbels and Quads. The

shape softens the high carbonation giving the beers a smoother feel. Some glasses have etching on

the bottom to encourage a steady stream of bubbles and maintain a nice head.

Traditionally used to serve:

  • Belgian Ales
  • Belgian IPAs
  • Belgian Dubbels
  • Belgian Tripels
  • Belgian Quadrupels
  • Belgian Trappist Ales
  • Bocks
  • Imperial IPAs
  • Imperial Stouts


Pilsner – Shaped to stream the bubbles into a tight head, as the name suggests used for Pilsners and light lagers.

Designed to showcase the colour, clarity and carbonation.

Traditionally used to serve:

  • Czech Pilsners
  • German Pilsners
  • Light Lagers


Bowl – Designed for where the drink is treated more like a spirit. Broad bodied so that the drink can be rolled around the glass to intensify the aroma.

Provides theatre for drinks that demand attention.

Traditionally used to serve:

  • Barley Wines
  • Imperial Stouts

Beyond the Pale…

Trying to navigate through the lighter side of drinking

As one of the fastest growing strands of beer the world of the pale ale has become a labyrinth of acronyms from IPAs to APAs, I hope the below helps to provide a map through the world of the pale ale.

English Pale Ale

The origin of the species, dating back to the seventeenth century, a moderately boozy ale designed to offer more body than a pilsner or lager. Designed to be very drinkable it occupies the middle ground offering hints of fruity and hoppy flavours. Forever associated with Burton upon Trent, Bass and Old Speckled hen are popular varieties still in production.

Belgian Pale Ale

Late in the nineteenth century Europe was awash with light crisp lagers. To try and combat the domination Belgian brewers took a leaf out of their English counterparts, using local Belgian yeast and pilsner appropriate hops the Belgian Pale Ale was born. With a more delicate hop flavour and the trademark spice of the Belgian yeast the Belgian Pale Ale has become a popular export to the USA. Taras Boulba and De Ranke XX are good examples available in the UK.

American Pale Ale

As with the Belgian Pale the APA was born out of a need to offer choice from the crowded lager dominated market. The origin of the APA can be traced back to 1980 in California when large amounts of the spicy Cascade hop was added to the traditional English pale ale recipe. After some refining this complex, full boded pale ale was released as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. A brand that has become synonymous with growth of craft beer. Slightly weaker and with a lighter hop profile the APA has become a bridge between the English Pale Ale and Indian Pale Ale.

India Pale Ale

With the growth of the British Empire into India a demand grew for an alternative to the Porter that was the traditionally exported to the territories. The EPA was preferred by the middle and upper class but it didn’t survive the long journey well so the strength was increased and additional hops were added to preserve the beer. Thus the IPA was born. Whilst there is no one description that fits all IPAs the traditional IPA possesses floral aromas with a fruity flavour and a bitter finish. Meantime IPA is a good example of a traditional IPA with a modern twist.

East Coast IPA

Very similar to the British IPA the ECIPA is a full bodied, moderately bitter beer with a strong malt backbone. Born out of British brewers moving across the pond during the US beer boom in the 1980s, this is a growing variety of IPA best represented by Brooklyn Breweries East Coast IPA

West Coast IPA

Sometimes confused with the new wave of NEIPA’s out there The West Coast of the US has a serious love affair with the hop.  This has led to the birth of the potently bitter West Coast IPA, with IBUs creeping towards three figures brewers have introduced a world of fruit to give these beers a vibrant fresh flavour to contrast the bitterness. Don’t be surprised to see things like mangoes and lychees make their way into the WCIPA. Stone IPA is a good example of the WCIPA style.

Double (DIPA) / Imperial IPA

These are basically IPAs on steroids, with higher strengths and eye watering IBUs they are growing in popularity amongst beer geeks. If done properly they can offer a nicely balanced flavoursome beer however beware as when done badly they are unbalanced boozy slap in the face. Pliny the Elder is probably the most famous of all DIPAs.

Triple IPA

Taking a lead from Belgium and their Dubbels and Tripels, the Triple IPA was developed as an off the charts version of the DIPA, these are certainly only for the brave and best shared with friends. Look to the US for examples, Founders Devil Dancer is one that can be found on some UK shelves.

Black IPA

Also known as a Cascadian Dark Ale, BIPAs embrace elements of the traditional IPA and of stouts offering a balance of fresh hoppiness with rich, malty complexity. Don’t be put off by the colour they offer an interesting taste of an IPA hybrid. Mikkeller Beer hop breakfast is regarded as one of the best examples of BIPA in the world.

White IPA

Moving to the other end of the IPA scale, the WIPA is a hybrid between a hoppy IPA and witbier. Developed to offer a refreshing IPA that could be drunk at the height of summer this is a small but growing member of the IPA family. Predominantly a US beer the WIPA has made its way across the pond in the form of Sirens White Tips WIPA.

Belgian IPA

Belgian brewing has established strong connections with the US and this has led to the creation of the Belgian IPA, using the APA as a base the Belgian IPA has been created using European hops and the Belgian yeast. Raging Bitch Belgian IPA is a great example.

Session Pale/IPA

Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers, within a reasonable time period or session, without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.)

NEIPA/New england IPA

NEIPA is essentially an unfiltered IPA or Double IPA that’s been aggressively hopped. Appearance ranges from slightly hazy or cloudy to opaque or muddy. Dry-hopping, the use of high-protein grains (flours, flaked oats, wheat), certain yeast strains, water chemistry, CO2 levels, and other techniques may also contribute to the beer’s haze and mouthfeel. But the overall goal is typically a hazy, juicy IPA packed with fruity and floral flavors.

Brut IPA

Brut IPA, as as style is very new, yet it’s starting to catch on at breweries throughout the nation and the world. It’s a super dry IPA made with an enzyme that converts unfermentable starches to fermentable sugars. It is light in mouthfeel, effervescent, dry, fruity (not grassy), and moderately low in bitterness.

Oatmeal Pale Ales

Not just reserved for stouts, oats are increasingly invading American pale ales due to their ability to add body and a special quality that can only be described as silky.  The idea isn’t new; Lagunitas first brewed its Equinox Pale Ale with oats way back in 1995














I hope this makes navigating the world of the pale ale a little easier.
– Sam Reynolds 24/09/18

New Look to Inn-Express

I am delighted to announce that Inn-Express are having a make-over, and to this end you’ll notice this article is written on a new look website.

Inn-Express new liveried vehicle

Over the next few weeks you’ll see this new corporate identity rolled out on the web, our vehicles, staff uniforms and on our communications with you, our customers.

We are investing in new vehicles, and will be replacing the fleet over the next few months, and you can see an artists representation of what one of the small ones will look like.

We have commissioned Mark and Quentin from Riley and Thomas creative design agency to come up with the logo, website and new vehicle livery.

Inn-Express.com logoWe went for a new look and feel that is evolution rather than revolution, and a sharp image to carry us forward into the next era of our business, and we think it represents the service oriented, customer focussed business we strive to be.

I hope you like it as much as we do,