profile series: innovators in low/no alcohol
My Drynuary: 'January used to be a massive spike for us - but now people are looking for alcohol-free options to fit their lifestyle all year round'
BD: Introduce us to Big Drop!
Rob (co-founder) and I started Big Drop in 2016. We both had young families, Rob had quit drinking when his first son was born, but Rob - who worked as a lawyer - was bored with taking clients to the pub and being stuck with dull, tasteless AF beers. He asked, “why can’t anyone make a great AF craft beer?” … and away we went with the masterful skills of our head brewer, Johnny.
What sets your brand apart from the rest?
Apart from being the first, we didn’t set out to make a great AF craft beer. We set out to make a great craft beer that happened to be alcohol-free. That reverse thinking has driven everything we’ve done to date, which sees us rolling out Reef Point a fantastic new 0.5% ABV craft lager that’s both gluten-free and vegan!
What markets are you available in?
Big Drop is available in the UK, Australia and the USA as well as parts of Europe and Asia. The UK will always be our home turf and focus, but it’s exciting to see the opportunities that are coming up in the US (we’re launching into new states every month at the moment) and Australia which is probably the fastest growing market.
What does your job involve?
I ran design and dev agencies for ten years and have been a graphic designer for 20+ years, so most of my time at Big Drop is spent making sure our messaging, packaging and tools are the best quality - and communicating our brand message - as possible.
How have you see the low/no market change since founding Big Drop in 2016?
Well, people don't think we're crazy anymore! When we kicked things off in 2016, many people thought we were mad to dedicate ourselves to making AF beer. Since then, hundreds of companies have joined the worldwide AF revolution. It’s a great thing to see and be part of.
What does Drynuary look like for you?
January used to be a massive spike for us. But consumer understanding of the AF space and the vast improvement in quality and range has meant that people are looking for AF options to fit into their lifestyle 24/7/365. It’s fantastic to see how the consumer is shifting from seeing AF as a ‘seasonal campaign’ into a year-round demand for quality and choice to fit into their busy lifestyles.
And what should we look out for from your company in the rest of 2023?
More, and Bigger. The appetite for quality, craft AF beer shows no signs of slowing - you’ll see Big Drop on draft across pub groups, in your favourite restaurants and even in WH Smith as you wait for your train.
What inspires you on your alcohol-free alcohol journey?
AF is no longer the ‘weaker’ option, and I’m proud we’ve made that change in consumer perception, but there’s much more to do. Having Laura, Jussi and the team at Club Soda along on that journey is fantastic. As has the Low2No Show which gets bigger and better each year and has led directly to some exciting listings (racetracks as well as premiership football and rugby grounds).
What’s your favorite Big Drop beer?
It’d have to be our Paradiso Citra IPA - It’s a delicious beer, AF or otherwise. Even better, I can walk into a pub and get a pint of it on draft— something I couldn’t do in 2016, that’s for sure. We've got some exciting plans for the Paradiso this year.