Have you ever heard of orange (aka amber) wine, let alone drank it? Odds are you probably haven’t, yet a few years ago, according to many in the industry, it was going to be the next big craze. That clearly never happened, but it didn’t stop a lot of smart people from jumping on the orange wine bandwagon.

This happens all the time when it come to wine, beer and cocktails, and because we run a site devoted to booze, we’re exposed to tons of messages from publicists and industry insiders all with a very similar pitch: that what they’d like us to write about, guaranteed, is the next big thing. More often than not, that isn’t the case, but booze is one of the more trend-focused industries around and big things do come and go all the time, so hypothesizing about what’s going to be hot next is a lot of fun. It clearly wasn’t orange wine a few years ago, but we also guess no one really predicted Moscato blowing up either, well besides Drake.

We’d like to think our crystal ball here at VinePair is fairly accurate, at least batting .500, but as you can see, making predictions is never easy and we’re sure we’ll receive all sorts of feedback on our visions of the future. But since we’re beginning a new year, and are excited about what’s to come, here are our predictions for what we can expect in the world of wine, beer and cocktails in 2015.

Get the latest in beer, wine, and cocktail culture sent straight to your inbox.
  • Whites from Greece will be all the rage this summer, especially Assyrtiko from Santorini.
  • Fast-casual restaurants will continue to add wine, beer and even craft cocktails to their menus.
  • While sommeliers continue to focus on obscure regions, everyday consumers will look to historically consistent Old-World regions from France, Spain, and Italy for their wine. The challenge for these historically successful regions in 2015 will be whether or not they can transition away from the entrenched enthusiast wine market, and learn to speak to a new generation of consumers in a different way. The region that does this most effectively will be victorious in 2015.
  • Emerging American wine regions will continue to rise in relevance. Virginia will solidify its place as the next exciting region for American wine. (Texas and New Jersey, you’re also on our radar.)
  • Aged and craft rums will become the next great spirit, giving whiskey a run for its money.
  • On-demand booze delivery will become a big thing.
  • We’ll all keep drinking a ton of craft beer, and less mass market varieties, despite the best efforts of the Budweisers of the world.
  • Session beers will become a massive style of craft beer as brewers turn away from making bigger and bigger IPAs, favoring restraint when it comes to alcohol level, allowing us to drink more beers without getting completely wasted.
  • Wine will continue to become more portable, with Zipz making a big splash thanks to its massive Shark Tank money.
  • There will be more “cocktail kits” and bottles of pre-mixed cocktails, as we see in Europe.
  • More and more good wine will be offered by the glass at restaurants and bars, as the Coravin system continues to spread, giving restaurants an affordable way to list multiple bottles.
  • The big alcohol companies will continue to make massive purchases of craft wineries, breweries, distilleries and brands this year in an effort to strengthen their portfolios and continue as market leaders.
  • While well intentioned, the beer Cicerone movement will push craft beer closer and closer to setting off snobbery-induced backlash from consumers.
  • Sherry will continue to be the next big thing that is not actually the next big thing.
  • A state government agency will pick the wrong fight in either direct-to-consumer shipping (most likely unconstitutionally) or in the murky world of on-demand booze delivery. For once they’ll lash out at someone with the money to fight back, and they’ll lose. Consumers will finally win.
  • Despite a lot of hype Starbucks’s wine program won’t make a big impact.
  • The venture-backed wine apps, from scanning to on-demand delivery, will begin to consolidate.
  • There will be at least one major Italian wine scandal. 99% of consumers will neither know nor care.
  • Multiple low calorie wine brands will see success.
  • Robert Parker is still dead.

Header Image via Shutterstock.com