Innovations in the no and low alcohol category

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

New product launches in the no and low alcohol category
No and low alcohol beverages have taken the UK by storm: aiming to challenge the traditional beer, wine and spirits categories with healthier alternatives. From low alcohol spirits to non-alcoholic beers, we take a look at some of the products which have launched in the UK this year.

Low alcohol spirit for cocktails

portobello road temperance

London Dry Gin brand Portobello Road has introduced a lower alcohol spirit to its portfolio, called Temperance. The 4.2% ABV spirit has been ‘crafted especially for gin fans who are looking to moderate their intake of alcohol yet don’t want to compromise on flavour’.

A serve made with 50ml of Temperance mixed with 200ml tonic water comes in at 0.8% ABV, while a classic ‘equal parts Negroni’ made with Temperance instead of Portobello Road London Dry will be almost 50% lower in alcohol and contain 1.1 units of alcohol.

Temperance is distilled using the same nine botanicals as Portobello Road Gin’s London Dry (42% ABV) and Navy Strength (57.1% ABV).

“Our co-founder Jake Burger developed bespoke techniques and added additional ingredients, such as naturally high mineral content water, botanical hydrosols and one or two secret ingredients to ensure the spirit harbours the intensity of flavour, texture and depth demanded by the modern drinker,” ​says the brand.

“The resulting flavour profile is instantly weighty, with viscosity and a pleasant acidic sharpness. In the mouth the citrus, floral, and particularly the winter spice notes are more pronounced than the nose would suggest, then eventually give way to juniper and pepper.

“Everything we do here at Portobello Road Gin is inspired by gin’s rich heritage and while we would never call Temperance a gin – as it is below 37.5% – it was important to us that the spirit retained the flavour and texture of a classic gin.”

The spirit has been designed to be used across a wide variety of serves and cocktails.

“We anticipate Temperance being used as the only base spirit in long very low alcohol drinks and also as an ingredient in drinks using multiple spirits where bartenders are looking to lower the overall ABV.” 

Ancient Persian heritage

xachoh

Xachoh (Za-Ko) has created a premium non-alcoholic spirit range distilled from herbs and spices.

The brand is aimed at those reducing their alcohol consumption, teetotallers, cocktail lovers and ‘taste adventurers’. It is free from sugar, sweeteners, calories, gluten, carbohydrates, fat and flavourings.

“Xachoh is imbued with a rich and compelling heritage in herbal remedies dating back centuries to ancient Persia, an era of great learning and discovery,”​ says the brand.

“It was here that scholars such as Avicenna conceived the foundations of the modern distillation process and Zakariya Razi discovered alcohol.

"It’s also the birthplace of the founder Mohamad Djahanbakhsh’s family, where six generations have handed down the secrets, skills and knowledge to create purposeful, pure and naturally alcohol-free spirits infused with premium, exotic herbs and spices of the legendary Silk Road.”​ 

The Xachoh spirit range of 70 cl bottles includes Xachoh Blend No. 5, a clear spirit with intense and fragrant taste notes distilled with ginger, star anise, barberry, turmeric, long pepper, camomile and rosemary. Meanwhile, Xachoh Blend No. 7 is a dark spirit with warm and exotic taste notes distilled with cinnamon, mace, saffron, sumac, crystal dark malt, ginger and star anise.

Celtic Soul

celtic soul

Pernod Ricard has launched its first dark non-alcoholic spirit, called Celtic Soul, in the UK.  

The 'smooth blend of sweet vanilla, spices and oak cask wood flavours' can be served mixed with ginger ale and garnished with a twist of orange. This drink is the brainchild of Craig Hutchinson, founder of non-alcoholic spirit brand Ceder's. 

“The whiskey and mixer market has huge global appeal, with 36% of consumers preferring to drink Irish whiskey with a mixer, meaning the scale of the opportunity to convert drinkers to the no and low category is vast,” ​according to Pernod Ricard.

The low and no category “currently lacks a compelling dark spirits offering and we are excited to partner with Celtic Soul to bring the brand to market”​, adds the wine and spirits giant.

The drink is available in Sainsbury's and featured at the UK supermarket's pop-up low and no alcohol pub.​ 

Vegan friendly and gluten-free

big drop lager main

Big Drop Brewing has relaunched its lager with a new, ‘fuller-flavoured’ recipe that is certified by the Vegan Society and carries the Crossed Grain gluten-free symbol from the Coeliac Society.

As with all Big Drop beer, the lager is brewed naturally using to fully-ferment at a maximum of 0.5% ABV, thus avoiding the need to artificially remove any alcohol during production. Its ingredients include oats and rye alongside barley, with the resulting taste being ‘crisp, refreshing and surprisingly flavourful’ for an alcohol-free beer.

The new lager is, however, the first time that Big Drop has successfully removed lactose from its list of ingredients - and thus becomes Vegan-friendly.

Big Drop Lager is available in 330ml cans as well as bottles in more than 800 Holland & Barrett stores across the UK, as well as in 190 Morrisons stores and on draught with Brewhouse & Kitchen. Other Big Drop products include its Pale Ale and Stout.

Alcohol-free for fine dining

nine elms

London-based brand Nine Elms has introduced its first drink, No.18, which has been designed as an alcohol-free drink to accompany good food.

The drink is presented in a 750ml bottle for restaurants, hotels, caterers and bars. It is available at high-end restaurants such as Isaac McHale’s The Clove Club, which features in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, and new hotel The Standard.

NINE ELMS No.18 has an intriguingly complex yet balanced taste profile - derived from the marriage between the botanical infusions of 20 different flowers, herbs and spices, and the juice of four types of berry - that allows it to pair with a broad range of rich, savoury dishes,” ​says the company.

“We believe NINE ELMS successfully bridges the divide between alcoholic and non-alcoholic products and for the first time offers a truly inclusive experience that brings people of all backgrounds and beliefs together.”

Champagne challenger

Lewis Moberly - Floreat 2 low-res

A 5.4% ABV sparkling wine, Floreat, has been created as a ‘modern take on tonic wine that addresses a global shift towards more mindful living’.

The win has been crafted by former Diageo executive and qualified medical herbalist Anne-Marie Hurst, in partnership with chemist Fred Hollamby-Jones and sommelier Andrew Mclean.

The five botanicals in Floreat have been selected for their therapeutic advantages and flavour properties, resulting in a ‘crisp and zesty liquid with benefits that range from antioxidants to a digestive tonic’.

The wine is designed to sit alongside the Champagne category with something ‘appropriately disruptive'. The name Floreat comes from the Latin term for ‘let flourish’, while the label avoids more traditional Champagne codes of heavy house marks and ornate graphics, using instead a die cut leaf shape finished with a filigree effect. The identity and brand design was created by London brand agency Lewis Moberly.

Citrus beer

Lowlander-0-beer

Lowlander Beer from the Netherlands has added a non-alcoholic option to its lineup. The 0.00% Wit (White) Beer is available in the Netherlands, the UK and Germany this summer, brewed with reclaimed citrus peel from bars and restaurants.

The company already sells five beers in its core range as well as two botanically brewed low alcohol 2.5% beers.

Lowlander Founder Frederik Kampan said, “With more than a quarter of young people considering themselves non-drinkers and 1 out of 20 beers being no low or no alcohol, we felt the time was right to launch our 0.00% Lowlander Beer.”​​

“We’re also delighted to be able to reuse natural botanical ingredients to brew our beer. Every year 250 million kilos of orange peel are discarded in The Netherlands and we are working with PeelPioneers who pick up and process this 'waste' in a circular, eco-friendly way.”​​

Natural alternative to booze

three spirit non alc

Three Spirit has launched its first 'plant-powered social elixir' - a drink that turns to botanicals instead of alcohol. 

A team of plant scientists first identified how alcohol interacts with the body’s receptors and then worked with herbalists to select plants - some used for centuries in ceremonies and potions - that are rich in active compounds that interact with those same receptors.

The brand then worked with bartenders to optimise the formula for a 'bold unique flavour with tasting notes that include burnt apple, caraway, dried fruit, bitter chocolate and coconut shrub'. 

The drink is available in cocktail bars and restaurants in London. 

0.0% fruit beer

st peters without

Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery has added an Elderberry and Raspberry fruit beer to its Without range: joining Without Original, Without Gold and Without Organic.

The 0.0% ABV beer is described as ‘sweet and tangy, with a pleasant fruitiness of elderberries and the lingering taste of raspberries… a full-bodied and well-balanced beer with a smooth, subtly sharp bitterness’.

The Without range is brewed in the same way as normal beer, but without alcohol (and are not dealcoholized).

John Hadingham, Managing Director at St Peter's Brewery, said: “There is a huge consumer demand for NPD in the 0.0% alcohol category and these new launches strengthen the Without® brand and give our customers something healthy and delicious to enjoy at home or in a pub or bar.

Very few brewers have been able to create delicious, rich and full-bodied beers that are truly alcohol-free or that aren't de-alcoholised. And yet we now produce four bona fide 0.0% alcohol beers that are meeting the demands of consumers who either can't, or don't want to, consume any alcohol, but still want to enjoy a real pint.

"This latest launch reinforces our position within the alcohol-free category and we can reveal we have more NPD to come.”

Related topics: Markets, Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider, Beer

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