Canned wine and artisan cocktails are having a moment. From a consumer perspective, its a game changer. Single folks don’t have to open a whole bottle; adventurers can take wine and cocktails to the pool, beach, or outdoor party. But, from a restaurant perspective, it makes sense, too.
As opposed to glass bottles, aluminum cans are arguably better for the environment, as it takes less energy and packaging to move them around and aluminum is easier to recycle.
Also, canned wines and cocktails can benefit a bar program by controlling serving size for offerings like by-the-glass pours, providing consistent quality, and producing less waste, says Kenneth Rochford, cofounder of canned wine producer West + Wilder.
“Technology has improved to the point where the quality of wine in cans is the best it has ever been,” says Matthew Allan, West + Wilder’s other cofounder. “We have found no barrier to putting a great bottle of wine into cans.”
Same goes for cocktails. Craft producers are starting to explore the canning trend, too, like Durham Distillery in North Carolina with its new Conniption American Dry Gin & Tonic and Cold Distilled Cucumber Flavored Vodka & Soda products.
Although canned cocktails might be more of a specialty item for full-service restaurants—“I certainly don’t envision building a bar program around popping open cans,” says Keith Whitten, general manager and wine director at Daisies in Chicago—canned wine is being embraced by full-service beverage professionals in the now.
“There is so much thought being put into canned wine, it is truly considered a variable expression of wine,” says Tonya Pitts, sommelier and wine director at One Market Restaurant in San Francisco.
“Most wines are not meant for aging, so putting them in a can is just fine,” Whitten says. “There will be a bit of taste adjustment for the consumer, as canning tends to add a little extra spritz to wines that would otherwise be completely still, but nothing that affects the flavor of a crisp white, rosé, or even a juicy and easy-drinking red.”