Six companies that are shaking up the non-alcoholic drinks category - Focus

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On Saturday, mindful drinking consumer group Club Soda held its Mindful Drinking Festival outside of London for the first time. just-drinks visited the event in Glasgow to speak to some of the beverage companies helping to mark out the future course of the growing non-alcoholic category. From "no-sin gin" to vinegar drinks, here's a selection of what we found.

Big Drop Brewing has just won new listings in the UK and Canada

Big Drop Brewing has just won new listings in the UK and Canada

Chastity Gin

As a former night-club manager in Fife, Kerr Nicoll has witnessed the front lines of Scotland's fiery on-premise scene. However, he believes his Chastity non-alcoholic gin range is what the consumer, and the licensed trade, is crying out for. "If you have five people coming into your venue, I can bet that one of them won't be drinking," Nicoll says. "Instead of that fifth person drinking water, we can get them to spend money on a non-alcoholic drink. It's a no-brainer."

The company he set up with his brother Roddy a year ago has just been given a major boost - a UK-wide listing in a major supermarket chain. Nicoll won't say which one but he projects selling a million bottles of his "no-sin gin" over the next 12 months. Two flavours are available, the floral-based Seduction and the citrus-style Temptation, and both will retail for GBP20 (US$26) per bottle.

Ceder's Gin

Ceder's non-alcoholic gin only started life three months ago, but has already won UK distribution from Pernod Ricard. That could be because the husband and wife team behind the product used to work for the French spirits and wine multinational in its Absolut vodka division. Pernod's help means Ceder's will be listed in UK Sainsbury's at GBP20 per 50cl bottle, however owner Maria Sehlstrom says the focus from now on will be the on-premise. Meanwhile, the Pernod Ricard creed of conviviality is brought to life through Ceder's when Sehlstrom explains why the non-alcoholic category is so important to drinking occasions. "Social drinking is all about conviviality," she says. "If someone is drinking a soft drink then that can impact on the atmosphere."

Big Drop Brewing

Big Drop has been around for a few years with a well-established range of non-alcoholic beers. However, it took a big step forward last month by winning a listing in Tesco. Owner Rob Fink will be the envy of the beer world when they find out that instead of badgering the supermarket chain to stock his beers - like everyone else has to do - the retail giant called him. Meanwhile, he's about to enter the Canadian market with a listing with Ontario monopoly LCBO.

Despite the retail success, Fink believes the on-premise needs to do more to help the non-alcoholic category grow. "A big step forward will be putting [non-alcoholic beer] at the front of the bar and seeing what happens," he says. "Also, we shouldn't call it non-alcoholic beer. Consumers should be asking for a Big Drop, or the bar call of whatever beer they want."

The Temperance Spirit Company

The Yorkshire-based Temperance Spirit Co launched its second product in March - an RTD non-alcoholic Cuba Libra to follow its RTD GnT. Like Chastity's Nicoll, Temperance owner Gill Venning believes that non-alcoholic brands can boost bar revenues by encouraging teetotallers to join in. "Bar staff should be encouraged to look for the people drinking lime and lemon," she says.


Mustafa Mahmud started Shrb because he felt that as a non-drinker he was missing out on the fun his wine-drinking friends were having. He describes his apple cider vinegar range as "entertainment in a bottle" and the perfect accompaniment for food. Four flavours are available, with the flavourings steeped in vinegar for a few days, leaving a low-sugar beverage with an "alcohol-like kick". Shrb is listed in a number of high-end UK retail stores including Harrods and is about to launch in the Netherlands through Albert Hein supermarkets.

Heineken 0.0

Heineken only launched its non-alcoholic namesake lager last year, but has already expanded it to 38 markets, with a US release set for January. The Dutch brewer is not giving sales figures away, but the beer appears to have gone down with consumers better than expected. Head brewer Willem van Waesberghe, who created the beer, is proud of 0.0's early success, and is looking forward to its continued global roll out. He is also confident that the non-alcoholic beer category as a whole has found its moment

"In every bar there should be a good selection of zero zero," he says. "And I think that will happen."

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