Something for the moderate drinker

Demand for low and no-alcohol predicted to stay strong this December.

Wild Eve Pretty
Wild Eve, made with foraged ingredients, has been launched in time for the festive season.

DRINKING in moderation has been high on the agenda for some time, and while many pub and bar customers will be looking to treat themselves with alcoholic drinks this Christmas, brand owners reckon demand for low and no-alcohol will remain strong.

Dan Harwood, key account manager for the UK at alcohol-free wine brand Eisberg, said that the pandemic has caused people to re-evaluate their lifestyle choices and cut down their alcohol intake.

“As we emerge from lockdown restrictions, we predict many people will continue drinking ‘NoLo’ alternatives to reach the wellness goals they have set in the past year and a half,” said Harwood.

“Drinking in moderation has now become part of modern daily life and will continue throughout the festive season.”

And he said he expects non-alcoholic versions of popular wines – including Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – to be particularly popular over Christmas as those looking to moderate their alcohol consumption opt for recognisable names.

That was supported by Clayton Thomson, premium brands manager at Tennent’s parent company C&C Group, who said low or no-alcohol beers and ciders can “offer people looking to moderate their consumption a way to get out and enjoy the festive atmosphere of the on-trade without compromising on taste”.

Not everyone abstaining from alcohol is necessarily looking for a non-alcoholic version of their usual tipple, however, and Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, said pre-pandemic sales indicated December will be a big month for traditional soft drinks too.

“Prior to the pandemic soft drinks sales increased by 19% in wet-led pubs during December, so venues should focus on getting their range right to make the most of these opportunities,” she said.

“Colas, mixers and adult soft drinks can all help to bring a sense of sparkle to a festive occasion.”

There’s also room for experimentation, said Burgess, with festive-themed mocktails likely to appeal to “those feeling more adventurous”.

Other producers, such as Harris herbalist, Amanda Saurin, are looking to tap into this appetite for more unusual drinks with the launch of non-alcoholic products that don’t necessarily fit into any of the established categories.

Saurin’s new product, Wild Eve, is produced using organic flowers, fruits, leaves and seaweeds that have been foraged by hand on the Isle of Harris.

She said the aim when creating the new brand was to produce a liquid with the flavour and intensity of a quality alcoholic drink.

“It was important to me to make a drink that had all the taste properties of alcohol, that made you feel chilled out like alcohol, that made you want to keep on sipping but which had no alcohol in any part of the process,” she said.

“It would stand alone as something you choose to drink because it would taste fantastic irrespective of its non-alcoholic status.”