While Dry January is a popular way to start the year on a healthier note, more and more people are jumping on the alcohol-free lifestyle year-round. Millennials and Generation Z in particular are drinking less in general. It was inevitable drink brands would come up with a creative solutions.
Sales of low and non-alcoholic drinks were up 18% (£4.8m) over the first quarter of 2020. With this rise in demand, more and more ranges are being introduced. Plus, countless restaurants and bars around the country are including mocktails on their menus, and there are even some non-alcoholic bars opening up across the country!
"Do Low and No Alcohol Drinks Taste Good?"
As a growing number of people choose to drink ‘less and better’, the universe of low- and no-alcohol beverages is rapidly expanding and new tasty formats are being launched all the time. Here will give you a low down on the opportunity and why now is the time to take the low and no alcohol trend seriously...
Why Are We Drinking Less Alcohol?
In the UK, alcohol consumption is in long-term decline. The growing numbers taking part in Dry January for example (some 4.2 million in 2019) is a clear example of a broader shift as people drink less. This trend is particularly notable among the young – surveys indicate that 29% of 16-24 year-olds are teetotal (up from 18% in 2005). But it’s a wider phenomenon too – a quarter of UK adults are looking to reduce their alcohol intake (YouGov/Portman Group poll, January 2019) and the proportion of adults who drink alcohol is at its lowest level on record: 57% in 2018, compared to 64% in 2005 (UK Office for National Statistics).
It’s increasingly a case of "no booze please, we're looking for something that fits our lifestyle". Various reasons are cited for the move away from alcohol. These range from the practical (numerous drink driving awareness campaigns) to the nutritional (fewer calories), necessity (pregnancy) or spiritual (religion). Among the young, dynamics include risk aversion in the age of social media and the internet, a lack of economic security (people tend to drink more when financially secure) and a desire to distance themselves from their heavier-drinking parental generation (same goes for smoking too).
A High Growth Opportunity
In theory, it should be a tough environment for low & no-alcohol drinks. Yet one of the industry’s most pervasive trends is still going strong. Despite the fact Brits are all but confined to their homes amid the Covid-19 crisis, sales of low & no-alcohol drinks are still on the up.
While low- and no-alcohol wines have not kept pace with beers or distillates, neither have they stood still. While it still makes up less than 5% of the total beer market, alcohol-free ad low ABV drinks were the first types of lo-no products to win over consumers. More than half of Brits who took part in a survey last year said they have at least tried a non-alcoholic beverage, while 52% also said non-alcoholic beers have become more socially acceptable in the past two years.
Sales volumes of low and non-alcoholic beer have risen by about 18% in the past five years in western Europe, according to Euromonitor, and are forecast to climb another 12% by the end of 2022. Growth has been even stronger in the UK. It’s no surprise then that the low and no alcohol movement has grown exponentially in that time; no longer are teetotallers stuck with a soda and lime, diet coke or dodgy alcohol-free 'beer'. Leading alcohol brands like Bacardi, Becks, Seedlip and Pernod Ricard have been joined startup challenger ranges such as Drynks Unlimited and Sipling, who rapidly tapping in to this hottest of latest trends.
With the on-going situation and lock-down, for those that don’t want to sacrifice their favourite tipples at the expense of their wellness and healthier lifestyle, what are the perfect options for a virtual alcohol free pint, spirit or cocktail with friends?
What Options Are Out There?
Low- and no-alcohol drink is something of an enigma. Legally, it doesn’t exist – officially, ‘wine’ should contain a minimum of 8% alcohol by volume (abv) unless specifically exempt for example. While the nation’s pubs, bars and restaurants are out of action for the foreseeable due to coronavirus, there are still ways to enjoy your favourite tipple at home during the week. But what are people looking for from low and no alcohol alternatives?
Well flavour is key. Instead of fruity, simple alternatives, people are looking for flavour… they expect something balanced and interesting. It should replicate the experience and pleasure of drinking their alcoholic counterparts. Also, appearance is important; they don't want to be singled out so non-alcoholic cocktails for example, need to be indistinguishable from their alcoholic siblings.
Sipling... alcohol free cocktails
Faithful recreations of world classics that are genuinely crafted and ready-to-drink. An adult soft drinks brand which has entered the no and low game, Sipling have launched a range of six ready to drink premium non-alcoholic cocktails.
Comprising a Bellini, Gin & Tonic, Moscow Mule, Mojito, Old Cuban and Spiced Rum & Cola, the alcohol free cocktail range is made with a blend of natural ingredients and extracts that aim to recreate the sophisticated flavours of some of the world’s most popular cocktails.
Sipling cocktails are an alcohol free reinvention, crafted with all of the exuberance and ambition of cocktails, so drinkers, moderators and abstainers can all enjoy the party!
DALSTONS... ready to drink 0% G & t
Here's a duo of alcohol-free gin & tonic RTDs. Launching with two flavours – Classic and Rhubarb – both of which are made with a blend of distilled botanicals.
Dalston's began life in a club in Dalston, London, Founded by chef Duncan O'Brien who had a knack for blending, balancing and bringing out the best in real fruit. That's exactly why these alcohol free gin and tonics, just like their soda counter parts, aren't packed them with a boat-load of sugar. What’s more, they’re refreshingly responsible – out to do the right thing for our planet and its people.
All the care and attention has gone into the real ingredients used to make these drinks as true and as honest as it gets.
Dalston's have not reformulated our drinks with sickly sweet, chemical tasting artificial sweeteners and never will. With less than <0.5% ABV - that's less alcohol than a banana - these G&T's are suitable for the sober curious. RRP £1.99
smashed drinks... ALCOHOL FREE lager, BEER AND CIDER
Craft-styled Lager, Beer and Cider drinks that are all 0% alcohol - so tasty you’ll believe you’re drinking the real thing! In fact this range is the first British-made 0% lager, the Drynks Unlimited team are tapping in to the rapidly growing low- and no-alcohol category.
The business was founded in 2017 by ex-marketing director and drinks industry expert Richard Clark who had a burning desire to create the best alcohol-free drinks portfolio on the market. He spotted an opportunity to build a company of drinks experts with the sole purpose to develop great-tasting alcohol-free drinks that give anyone not wanting to drink booze a real choice.
Drynks Unlimited are pioneering the next generation of alcohol-free drinks. Using dealcoholisation technology - the only UK drinks company to do so - that uses the cool vacuum distillation process, which gently removes alcohol from full strength alcohol, while retaining the character and flavour of the original liquid.
The range of 'Smashed' Lager, Cider and Citrus Beers are rethought drinking for today's drinker... RRP £2.39
WILLS ACV... 0% apple cider vinegar drinks
Alcohol free kombuchas and apple cider vinegar soft drinks. Willy’s ACV drinks are made from 300-year-old untouched apple orchards. Practising what he preaches, entrepreneur William Chase, describes his own apple cider vinegar as a modern take on a legendary product.
What is ACV? Short for Apple Cider Vinegar, is a minor miracle from Mother Nature! Best enjoyed raw, unpasteurised and unfiltered leaving the mother culture beautifully alive and present in each bottle. Willy’s use up to 48 classic varieties, press them and let nature do her work.
And why drink it? Whilst Apple Cider Vinegar is slightly acidic in PH, when metabolised within the body, Apple Cider Vinegar actually promotes alkalinity, along with other healthy foods like lentils, fresh green leafy vegetables, fruit and nuts
Suitable for a vegan lifestyle, gluten free and free of GMO ingredients. RRP £2.49
NIX & KIX... SOFT DRINKS with a grown-up twist
Natural, low calorie adult soft drinks with a twist. Nix & Kix are on a mission to remove the stigma that alcohol free soft drinks are boring and unhealthy. Until now there’s been a lack of imagination, a lack of experimentation, and a lack of passion. Here to give soft drinks a new name. And some added kick. It might be surprising a drink with cayenne pepper and NO added sugar or chemicals can deliver a kick that evokes the WOW factor!
What's The Nix? No refined sugar, all natural, vegan friendly. Falls below sugar tax threshold and there's no artificial sweeteners or flavourings. And the Kix? A kick from UK chilli - top quality flavours mixed with a subtle hint of chilli sourced from Bedfordshire.
They're a great non alcoholic option at night and a refreshing alternative to sugary and artificially sweetened drinks during the day. RRP £1.15