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Pumpkin spice, RIP, sooner or later

Upserve, a restaurant management platform, recently looked at data from bar and restaurant customers regarding the pumpkin-spice trend and found some signals of its eventual demise. While the number of pumpkin offerings is higher than ever, the dollar total of pumpkiny sales is less than last year’s sales figures. That’s partly due to average prices for such items being lower than last year. But doesn’t that tactic carry a whiff of desperation? Another tidbit: Saturday is when people most often treat themselves to a pumpkin-spice item, followed by Sunday, then Friday.

For forward-thinkers (and tasters), the Eater website predicts that pumpkin spice’s “reign of autumnal terror may finally be coming to an end.” Next up? Maple pecan. Last month, Starbucks unveiled its Maple Pecan Latte, promising “notes of maple syrup, pecan and brown butter,” topped off with sparkly orange sugar. Dunkin’ Donuts also has its own maple pecan coffee drinks in hot and iced versions. The Chicago Tribune, citing restaurant menu trend data, said that mentions of maple as a flavor in nonalcoholic beverages on menus are up 86 percent this year over last year, while pumpkin mentions are down 20 percent.

Can maple-pecan dog treats be far behind?

Charlie nominations sought

The seventh Charlie Awards to celebrate the Twin Cities food and beverage community will be handed out Feb. 25 at the Pantages Theatre, but nominations are due soon, being accepted through Oct. 25. The categories are Lifetime Achievement, Community Hero, Outstanding Restaurant, Outstanding Restaurateur, Outstanding Chef, Rising Star, Outstanding Baker/Pastry Chef, Outstanding Service, Beverage Innovator and Hidden Gem. Each of the categories, excluding Lifetime Achievement, will name three nominees before the award show. To make a nomination, or to buy tickets, visit CharliesExceptionale.com. Longtime Charlies sponsor Foodservice News now is producing the event, with founders Scott Mayer and Sue Zelickson serving as consultants. The Charlie Awards are named after the legendary restaurant Charlie’s Café Exceptionale, which was a mainstay in downtown Minneapolis until the 1980s.

Fresh hop beers on tap

Town Hall Lanes’ Fifth Annual Fresh Hop Fest will be held from 1-5 p.m., Saturday, featuring about 30 breweries from Minnesota and across the country pouring fresh hop beers along with other fall beer styles such as Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, Wood-Aged, ciders and more. Tickets are $40; visit tempotickets.com/hopfest2017. Fresh hop beers can only be made once a year when the hops are harvested and quickly added to the brewing process, instead of first being dried or processed. This technique captures the hop in its most natural state to produce a “juicy” character of beer. Town Hall Lanes is at 5019 34th Av. S., Mpls. This is an outdoor event.

KIM ODE