The World Beverage Innovation Awards 2017 highlighted the innovative products joining the beverage market in 2017. Many of the brands that showcased products this year were informed by consumer trends such as health and fitness or interactive and luxurious packaging. Here, we look at the finalists and winners in the best craft and premium drinks categories: namely best sparkling beverage, best coffee and best tea, and best alcohol drink.
Best sparkling beverage
The best sparkling beverage award was won this year by Yuzu, crafted by CAPI and containing the natural crisp flavour of the yuzu fruit. With its clean, simplistic packaging and artisan qualities, Yuzu follows onto the health and awareness consumer trends, offering an alternative to mass-produced, highly processed drinks. Finalists in the category included DRY Soda Co. with its new watermelon and ginger flavours. Only 50kcal a bottle and a gentle mix of sparkling water and natural flavours, these drinks are a perfect palette cleanser or base to any alcoholic mix. With the impact of the health and fitness trend, there has been a surge in beverages including natural ingredients or flavourings. Double Dutch Drinks touched on this by extending their holistically produced range to include a ginger beer perfect for using as a mixer or to have over ice on its own.
Best alcohol drink
The best alcohol drink category was full of products offering new techniques, as well as new blends of botanicals and unique flavours. The winner, Victoria Distillers, impressed with their Empress 1908 Original Indigo Gin, created solely from natural botanicals. Infused with pea blossom, this gin sits as a vivid indigo blue until mixed with tonic or citrus when it transforms to a subtle pink. Keying into consumers’ demand for interactive or niche beverages, this gin offers the consumer something magical. Boozeme’s kukki, one of the finalists in the category, has introduced a range of cocktails that are stored frozen and then defrosted before serving. A simple and tasteful blend of ice and fruits, each concoction is free of dyes and preservatives, as well as being vegan.
Following on from the trend in interactive packaging and tasteful beverages, Cambridge Distillery’s Infinitum interactive blending system allows customers to influence the flavour of the gin before it is dispensed from the machine, meaning that no two drinks from the Infinitum can ever be the same.
MBWS’ frozen cocktails concept is a refreshing range of classics with a twist. Tapping into the growing convenience trend and on-the-go packaging, their freeze-and-squeeze cocktails are also low in sugar and has eco-packaging, satisfying millennials.
Best premium or adult drink
The best premium or adult drink category saw a rise in the popularity of non-alcoholic alternatives and ethically sourced ingredients, as well as a change in the distilling of products. The Duchess has served up Virgin Gin and Tonic, containing details of key botanicals that give the drink a district aroma of orange peel, star anise and cardamom. The Virgin Gin lets the drinker revel in a little luxury even if they are health conscious or the designated driver. Following on from this trend, also in the category was Seedlip with its own distilled non-alcoholic alternative to spirits. Using a cold press distilling method, each of the two spirits Seedlip created is calorie-free and created using only the finest herbs and spices, including grapefruit peel, cardamom and spearmint. The winner of the category, Finnieston Distillery Company, has produced a range of whisky-infused cocktails designed to suit those who don’t generally choose whisky as their preferred tipple. Finnieston wanted to create a beverage that would be familiar to many but also encompass their own unconventional twist. Feel Good Drinks caught onto this trend and brought out their new Infusions range, offering a natural alternative for those looking for something refreshing but low in sugar.
Best tea and best coffee
In the best tea and best coffee categories, ethical awareness and alternative brewing methods shined through. Numi Organic Tea won the category for its natural blends and sustainability commitment. Numi is hoping to create a positive impact on the planet as well as on their community by striving to source all ingredients organically from Fairtrade farming communities, which Numi aim to provide with access to clean and safe drinking water.
Another brand introducing awareness through its products is Argo Tea, with its cold-brew teas. Argo Tea works with the best local and global tea producers to create a unique and delicious blend, with three different flavours available. Zigzag Tea, another finalist in the best tea category, took this one step further by introducing fully biodegradable pyramid bags that are sealed with ultrasonic waves. In addition to that, unlike mass-produced tea bags, Zigzag’s ethically sourced whole-leaf ingredients help retain a fresh taste.
Good Earth Tea’s turmeric chai offers a unique blend of organic spices and tea leaves with earthy notes of turmeric that aim to please the palate and promote a healthy lifestyle.
We move on to the coffee category, which saw a rise in popularity of the alternative cold brewing methods, as well as charitable giving through the purchase of the beans and packaging. La Colombe has followed the trend towards convenience. This cold-pressed coffee is rich in natural ingredients and lactose-free, and even offers a layer of silky thick foam. Even the packaging is agile and stylish, with a simple design.
Change Please CIC, meanwhile, is using its coffee to help the homeless. With support from The Big Issue, they have made a radical difference to many lives on the streets of London by providing barista training and allowing them to change their own situation through support. And Califia Farms uses a cold-brewing method that ensures their coffees do not contain any acids, or GMOs, giving coffee lovers a healthier option. Their vast range of cold-brew coffee flavours are all made with almond milk or can be purchased black.
Set that trend
Have you launched a new product this year? Then FoodBev’s awards are for you! We regularly come across new products and trends, providing them with the platform to get the exposure they deserve. Showcase your latest innovations and set that trend!
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