The annual USA Trade Tasting & Conference is a chance for brands that are newer to the market to gain attention from press, retailers and distributors. Many of these beverage alcohol products are completely new — or are foreign brands that have not been available yet for U.S. consumers. Browsing the booths this year at the annual event, a number of brands caught our eye, including:
1) בירה שבט – Shevet Beer
For some time now we’ve wondered whether the next trend in craft beer could be craft imports. As the premiumization of the category sweeps across the globe, we’re seeing high-quality craft breweries open everywhere, including this producer from Israel. They poured a Helles lager and Scottish Ale, both which were fresh, on-recipe and delicious.
2) Vice & Vertu Distilleries
One of several Canadian distilleries present was Vive & Vertu Distilleries. Besides bringing gins of high quality, this producer from Quebec also had some of the more noticeable branding in a room full of interesting new products.
3) RAW Distillery
Speaking of spirits from our friends up north, RAW Distillery from Alberta was another example that the crafty spirts boom has taken off in Canada as well. While Canadian craft beer has already caught on in some parts of America, it is likely only time before curious, ever-exploring U.S. consumers begin experimenting through Canadian craft spirits as well. And don’t be put off by the name “Peppercorn Gin.” That spirit was no spice bomb, but a smooth, balanced mix of sweet flavor and lovely heat.
4) MerryGo Spirits
Simple, effective branding always catches our eye, so it’s no surprise we were drawn to these two bottles from MerryGo Spirits. Neither name is exaggerating the flavors within, either. The MMMINT is a minty blast that’s perhaps too concentrated for neat sipping, but would work wonders in a cocktail. HEEET was a nice craft take on the popular cinnamon-spice party shot.
5) High Key Wine
The alternative packaging trend in wine is booming, and this brand from Pennsylvania is another creative example. Made for easy-sipping by poolsides or in parks, these wines come in little pouches that couldn’t be easier to take on the go. The wine will last a full 12 months in these packages.
Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @kswartzz or Instagram @cheers_magazine. Read his recent piece How Williquors Created a Destination Store.