What to drink when you’re not drinking

What do you drink when you’re not drinking? Is it the traditional lemon, lime, and bitters, fruit juices, fizzy and sugary soft drinks? Those traditional choices are becoming a thing of the past.

A new generation of non-alcoholic drinks is emerging—and this fast-growing revolution is a promising opportunity for the drinks industry.

The key to capitalising on this non-alcoholic trend is understanding the factors driving it: a renewed focus on health and well-being, a demand for choice and a desire for better experiences. People are now making conscious decisions about what they eat and drink. They want more interesting options that allow them guilt-free indulgence without the hangover. And they want crafted, created, and curated drinks that define their experiences.

So what should you have on offer? Here are five non-alcoholic drinks to put on your menu.

Mocktails

Mocktails mimic their alcohol-infused kin with the same creativity, just less ABV. Classic mocktails at The Winery include a wojito; made with watermelon, mint, and rose; a blood orange sour, and a strawberry fizz. Meanwhile, Bloodwood’s Virgin Negroni—made with non-alcoholic wine, cinnamon, orange and lemon peel, and star anise—tastes just as good as its cocktail counterpart.

With alcohol taken out of the mix, mocktails provide new ways of experimenting with flavour and technique, to bring out varied tastes and textures. When it comes to mocktails, the devil is in the details, with every shake, stir, and swizzle making all the difference.

Non-alcoholic spirits

Non-alcoholic spirits are typically made with natural ingredients, making them perfect for health-conscious consumers and opening up creative possibilities for distillers. Non-alcoholic spirits can be served with tonic or bitters, or mixed in mocktails.

UK-based Seedlip produced the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits: Garden 108, a blend of homegrown herbs, and Spice 94, an aromatic mix of spices. Denmark’s Herbie Virgin is the world’s first non-alcoholic gin, distilled with Danish apples, juniper, lavender, and orange peels. Another UK creation is T&E No.1, a full-flavoured sparkling botanical beverage.

 

No- and low-alcohol beers

Booze-free beers involve reworking the traditional brewing process to minimise alcohol content, while maximising taste. These zero-proof and low-strength brews are intended to taste like their original counterparts minus the alcohol. They may be dry, but they’re far from boring.

Budweiser has its no-alcohol Prohibition Brew and Heineken has Heineken 0.0, an alcohol-free lager. Low-alcohol beers in the Australian market include Coopers Mild Ale, Great Northern Super Crisp Lager, and Hahn Ultra, alongside others such as Sobah’s Finger Lime Cerveza, Lemon Aspen Pilsner, and Pepperberry IPA.

Craft soda

Like craft beer, craft soda highlights taste through carefully sourced ingredients. With different flavours to choose from, drinkers are encouraged to sip, contemplate, and enjoy.

PS40 Bar in Sydney are known for their handmade sodas, produced using local and natural ingredients. Their Wattle Cola soda contains wattle seed and cola nut, while their Blackstrap Ginger soda is made with Australian ginger and blackstrap molasses. For Melbourne’s Lûmé, it’s all about turning the classics into contemporary. With sodas like aromatic lemonade, hopped tonic, mountain pepper ale, and roasted wattleseed cola.

Blended drinks

Blended drinks are a play on taste and texture—blitzed or pressed juices, delicious smoothies, slushie-style delights. These concoctions are meant to be light, refreshing, flavourful and fun.

For instance, Din Tai Fung’s best-selling non-alcoholic beverage is their Lychee Mint Freeze, a slushie made of sweet and juicy lychee fruit, fresh mint, syrup, and crushed ice. Similarly, the drinks menu at Boon Cafe consists of cold-pressed juices, slushies in tropical flavours, and house-made iced tisanes.

Non-alcoholic drinks prompt drink makers to push their boundaries even further and provide consumers with similar tasting options to satisfy their urges. It’s about making consumers happier and healthier by empowering them with better choices and cultivating memorable experiences.

Want to learn more about trends to look out for in the drinks industry and how to take advantage of them to grow your business? Head to Drinks Collective on 10–12 September 2018 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibit Centre and learn how to grow your business with expert insight and a range of drinks exhibitors presenting the latest options.

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