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All You Need To Know About: No Alcohol Alcohol

6 September 2019 by Food&HotelAsia


The early 2000s was all about candy-coloured cocktails in svelte martini glasses and a decade later, it was champagne bottles on ice and magnum bottles of spirits sporting sparklers. Today, millennials are divided into two camps: those in pursuit of high-quality, premium crafted cocktails, and those looking to make Dry January a year-long thing.

It may sound like a paradox, but one of the biggest beverage trends in 2019 is (thankfully) not unicorn frappes or mushroom lattes, but no-alcohol alcohol.

Like those who’ve given up meat or other animal products in the quest for better health, or have embraced kombucha and kefirs in a bid to improve gut health, ‘sober-curious’ millennials are looking to significantly reduce their alcohol intake by either cutting out the drink completely, or replacing them with low-to-zero alcohol beverages that allows them to partake in happy hour without getting too happy.

While no-alcohol beer has been around for quite some time, low to no alcohol spirits like gin or rum are new players in the game. Ish Spirits was founded by Dane Morten Sorensen after he pledged to go 100 days without booze, and found himself with little to drink during happy hour. He worked with Firmeinch, a Swiss fragrance and flavour company to develop their two flagship products: “gin-ish” and “rum-ish”. Both spirits taste similar to their alcoholic counterparts, the former featuring notes of juniper berry and coriander seeds and the latter sugar cane, vanilla and nutmeg. More impressively is the lengths Sorensen and the Firmeinch team took to replicate alcohol’s signature bite – isolated capscium extracted from the shells of chili seed. While Ish Spirits uses a teeny bit of alcohol to preserve and heighten the flavours in the drink, the ABV comes up to a mere 0.5% (regular rum and gin average 37.5 – 40% ABV).

Seedlip on the other hand, is a completely alcohol-free spirts company. You have probably seen their millennial-aesthetic friendly bottles around: clear glass, brass caps and botanical-inspired labels that are begging to be displayed on shelves. And they are: Seedlip is carried by over 3,000 bars around the world, the most notable being The American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, which is widely regarded as one of the best bars in the world. What sets Seedlip apart is that they are not attempting to replicate flavours of traditional spirits, allowing them to experiment as they please with various botanical combinations to create a unique category of beverages. Founder Ben Branson drew inspiration from a book written in 1651 called “The Art of Distillation”, and successfully managed to reimagine centuries-old remedies into some of today’s hottest beverage.

So what’s next for no alcohol alcohol?

“Trend wise, there is definitely a growing acceptance that better non-alcoholic options need to be considered and offered, but it’s still such early days! Globally, we are at the beginning of a paradigm shift in the role drinks play in people’s lives, with a number of bigger cultural forces at work that mean the timing and need for quality, adult non-alcoholic options has certainly never been more relevant.” Ben said, in an email interview.

Discover more no-alcohol products at FHA-Food & Beverage, 31st March – 3rd April 2020 at Singapore Expo. View more show details here.