Posts Tagged ‘local alcohol’

Sustainability is in, finally. The 2010 “What’s Hot” forecast is out from the National Restaurant Association and sustainability dominated the top trends.

I don’t really like the word “trend” for sustainability because I think resource conscious operations is a sensible, long-term business practice, and not a trend. However, the forecast is for “What’s Hot,” and some of the things on the list will go the way of the Dodo.

Sustainability in general ranked in at number three with local produce, locally sourced meats and locally produced beer and wine in the top five, sustainable seafood in the top ten and organic produce and artisan spirits in the top twenty. Many of the remaining top vote getters had a sustainable twist to them like farm-branded ingredients, “simplicity/back to basics” and non-traditional fish, which I equate to sustainable seafood. The overall theme for the top trends is obviously in line with consumer trends of healthier, more environmentally conscious eating habits. Of course what we say and what we do are two different things as the US is still the fattest country in the world and getting fatter every day…

Regardless, having been pushing for sustainability in the restaurant industry for several years, it is nice to see sustainability taking hold. Even though some of the same trends like organic and local produce made it on the 2009 list, it seems restaurants chefs and owners have realized the benefits of sustainable practices. We need to make sure that sustainability remains standard practice rather than a trend since restaurants are the most energy intensive commercial businesses in the US, and tend to produce a lot more waste than the average business. I’ve seen the trend coming and hope 2010 is a banner year for green restaurants. Maybe next year sustainable foodservice consultants will make the top twenty…


Drinking Green

Author: Paul

Welcome to The Sustainable Shift Drink, a blog of Sustainable Foodservice Consulting!

I guess since I titled the blog The Sustainable Shift Drink I should start-off by discussing green drinks, or sustainable cocktails if you will. What is a sustainable shift drink? As those of us in the restaurant and bar industry know, a shift drink is the small complimentary incentive given out by restaurant owners to keep their staff around for the whole shift… It is an often-abused privilege, but a kind observance of the staff’s hard work.

The sustainable side comes from what SFC does best, sustainability. Usually local produce and sometimes wine gets the lion’s share of press in regards to the sustainable food movement, but I believe there is definitely a place for the cocktail in this slow food world. There is no reason a menu heavy with local and organic offerings should not offer a selection of local distilled spirits.

A few years ago, while working for a restaurant group, I started pushing the fellow management to start carrying a local liquor selection. I said, “It’s going to be the next big thing,” and to some degree I was right. Mixology is obviously a big trend in the bar business evidenced by numerous articles, bartenders being invited to foodservice shows, and even on TV. Who lets a bartender on TV?… Local and sustainable cocktail options have been advanced along with the mixologist trend, but I feel like it’s still pushed aside for gourmet drinks and the juggernauts of hard alcohol. Microbrews have seemed to make it into mainstream America, but micro distilleries like House Spirits and their Medoyeff Vodka have yet to make any sort of dent in Grey Goose or Ketel One’s market share.

For this reason, I think the foodservice industry needs to turn some of its attention to the small batch, craft distilled, livations so many of us enjoy.

Fortunately for us here in Oregon, we have a wide selection of craft spirits to choose from – not to mention numerous beers and wines, but that’s old news. 25 years ago, Oregon helped push the microbrewery industry forward, and is now leading the charge of craft distilleries with 17 throughout the state, second only to California. However, the craft distilling industry is not limited to the West. Across the country, small batch distillers are marketing their spirits hoping to get drinkers interested in their local, usually high-end spirits. Many are open for tastings, and always more than happy to make suggestions for cocktail recipes. Distillery tours are well worth the trip, and the addition to a bar selection.

Check out the American Distilling Institute website, which maintains a directory of all of the craft distilleries currently in the US.