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Northern Restaurant and Bar Show 18

The Northern Restaurant and Bar Show is the North’s largest hospitality show

For those that are old school Manchester it’s where the great and good of the Northern Hospitality scene come together at GMex

For those younger people it’s the venue you know as Manchester Central next to the Beetham

Not only is it a chance to catch up with old friends and meet new suppliers, it’s a chance to get a feel for what trends might be happening in the hospitality sector over the next 18 months

Here are 5 Trends we noticed at the #NRB18 show


The supermarkets have been fighting for the Vegan pound over the 1st 3 months of 2018

And now is the time for the hospitality sector to go for the same market

The chains such as Zizzi, Pizza Express and Wetherspoons have all had strong vegan offerings and Manchester has the likes of V Rev, Zads and Deaf Institute who all offer great vegan options

At the NRB show it’s clear that Free From Desserts is a market to play for with everything from vegan and gluten / dairy free ice cream, tarts, brownies and cakes on offer

Around 22 million people in the UK class themselves as flexitarians that will go for vegetarian and vegan options

Are you catering for Free From and Vegan audiences?

Cocktails On Tap

Cocktail making is an art

No, Cocktail making is an absolute pain if you’re queuing and you just want a pint

It’s perhaps one of the more controversial offerings from this years NRB show, but cocktail on tap are dream for those who hate queuing at bars

Will it catch on?

Let’s see – but the mojito was with us in seconds and tasted like a dream

You can have your packets of crisps and your peanuts

Or well you can have gourmet snacks

Gourmet Pretzels were on offer at this years events and whilst the business has been built on market stalls there’s a sense this could transfer to the bar and pub market in a big way

Last years event also saw a more gourmet range of snacks complete with marketing that saw snacks as something integral to the mix rather than something hidden at the back of a bar

Gourmet Snacks could fill the gap between cheap crisps and a full meal such as pie or burger

Gin is going nowhere fast

It dominated in 2017 and this is set to continue in 2018

Craft beers and IPA’s were on offer throughout the venue (note though in a more toned down sophisticated tone than the dayglo offerings we’ve been used to in over last 12 months), but it was the GIN corner that attracted bar managers in the masses

We’ll see brands building on the success of the last few years and some new players entering the market place

It will be hard to see any other spirit dominating in 2018 though

Cuba Libre Tee Total

Temperance Spirit Co wowed in 2017 with their non alcoholic GnT

In 2018 they introduce another premium adult styled soft drink

Teetotal Cuba Libre is their non alcoholic rum and it’s a fine offering

You can imagine in years to come they will dominate the market place

At Altrincham HQ both our attendees are drinkers and we’d go for these options again as a much needed alternative to coke or water


Let us know in the comments below …

Here’s a few more photos from Crooked Alcoholic Soda, Mr Singhs Vegan Chips, Avocado Cake, Yorkshire Popcorn, Swiggin In Wiggin

Crooked Alcoholic Soda

 Avocado Cake


Yorkshire Popcorn Swiggin In Wiggin

Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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