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Drink Up! What’s the Latest on Trendy Beverages

2 Mins read

Own a restaurant, bar, or coffee shop? Here’s some news you’ll want to know. Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) reported on nine trendy beverages they spotted at the National Restaurant Show.

They report that beverages are “an increasingly active category” in the food industry, driven by foodservice operators trying to increase the spend of their current customers since overall traffic is down.

NRN says the beverage distributors at the show “upped their game” by offering “slightly exotic but still approachable flavors.” Some of the overall trends include coffee and other traditional stimulants “getting makeovers with new production practices, and less traditional stimulants are coming to the fore.”

Let’s take a look at some of the specific offerings (learn more at NRN):

Sprouted coffee

Apparently, if you “apply the right amount of time, temperature, and moisture” to green coffee beans, you get less bitter coffee with a flavor profile similar to cold brew.


Made with Japanese citrus, NRN says Yuzu has a “uniquely floral aroma  [and] keeps moving closer to the mainstream.”

Dirty soda

These look good, but I think I’ll stick to my Diet Coke. Dirty soda, also known as “muddy soda” and “twisted soda,” is soda with extra “stuff” in it, like dairy or dairy alternatives, syrups, and other flavors. NRN says the sodas trend on social media and at soda fountains and quick-service chains. Jack in the Box’s test of the product in one state last year was so successful the chain plans to take it systemwide this summer.

Next-level RTD cocktails

NRN notes that ready-to-drink cocktails have been trendy for a while, but they’re getting fancier. Look for lightly spiked teas (4.8%-5% alcohol by volume) and similar drinks.

Energy drinks

Also on display in the ready-to-drink category were beverages “with an extra kick.” NRN says a sugar-free line from Vibe comes in various fruit flavors, “providing something of a health halo along with non-caffeine stimulants.”

Cold foam

Cold foam is created when you either aerate milk (or a non-dairy milk substitute) in a nitrous oxide canister or whip it vigorously and then sweeten it. Cold foam is already trendy and has a presence in most coffee chains. It is mostly spooned over iced coffee beverages, though it can also be used with iced tea and soft drinks. But it still has traction.

Kava and kratom

NRN says kava and kratom only have a “tiny” presence in the market, but “they’re growing in popularity.”

Kava is a drink made from a Polynesian root pounded into powder. It’s said to be “both stimulating and relaxing.”

Kratom is an herb from Southeast Asia that’s turned into powders or extracts and made into drinks. Depending on the variety, the drinks reportedly enhance focus, provide energy, and relieve pain.

NRN says both drinks attract young people “who also enjoy CBD, nootropics (also called “smart drugs” these are known as brain supplements and cognitive enhancers), and other new age stimulants.”

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at, follow her on Twitter @Rieva, and visit her website to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free Currents newsletter.

Dirty soda stock image by Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

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