Keeping up with the latest drink trends can be downright exhausting, so I’ve asked the owner of craft liquor emporium Casa de Vinos, Jose Dymenstein, for some help. The former winemaker, who opened his Port Melbourne business six years ago, spends roughly 20 hours a week researching who is drinking what in Australia and around the globe. “The trends are set in Europe, and we follow them,” says the 17-year industry veteran.
Perhaps the most interesting development he has noticed is the way Melbourne’s recent love affair with craft beer is giving way to a fascination with spirits. It’s no longer sexy to bring wine to a dinner party. Even bringing the latest craft is losing its charm – people are searching for something exotic.
The Uruguay native says 2017 was the year of gin. “It’s killing it,” he says. “We have more than 100 gin distillers in Australia, so it would take you more than a year to try them all.”
This year will still be strong for the spirit, Dymenstein says, but by the end of the year it will move towards Australian whisky. “It’s huge now, but it will be way bigger because stocks of Australian whisky have been building for two or three years. It’s innate for humans to constantly want to find the next fun thing to do,” he says. “I don’t see customers getting excited about wines or beers, but when you talk about gin or whisky, they are really into it.”
CASA DE VINOS \ 227 Bay Street, Port Melbourne