Alcohol-free spirits sector is "poised for further growth"

The UK’s alcohol-free spirits market is poised for further growth driven by a plethora of new product launches and increased consumer demand, according to the latest research.

Distill Ventures, which is described as “the world’s first independent drinks accelerator” has released a white paper, together with consultancies CGA and IWSR, reaffirming the economic potential of alcohol-free drinks.

The research shows that as of October 2018 there were 42 alcohol-free spirits in the UK market, up from just four in April 2018.

It also highlighted a growing consumer interest in alcohol-free searches online. It showed consumers are searching for inspiration in alcohol-free spirits via words such as ‘Mocktail’, which is up 42%, according to the research.

Meanwhile searches for ‘non-alcoholic’ are up 81% compared to the year earlier with 17% of conversations around alcohol-free drinks coming from consumers aged between 35 and 44.

The research also looked at trends in the on-trade, which will most likely spill over into the off-trade over time. It showed in the UK 55% of restaurants in London have alcohol-free options, compared with 40% in Los Angeles. It said 42% of the wider London on-trade is expecting alcohol-free spirits and aperitifs, alongside alcohol-free beer and wine, to play a key role in their overall sales mix over the next 12 months.

Shilen Patel, co-founder and non-alcohol lead at Distill Ventures, said: “It is incredibly exciting to see these non-alcoholic drinks develop and it is something that we at Distill Ventures fully believe in. Over the last three years we have rapidly grown our dedicated Non-Alc practice within the core business to help founder-led brands grow. Non-Alc founder-led brands now account for around 25% of the brands within our company’s portfolio.”

Rich Woods, author of The Cocktail guy, said: “We are no longer seeing ‘mocktails’ reduced to the back of the menu. These incredibly creative Non-Alc cocktails are not taking centre stage on menus, sharing an equivalent portion of the limelight with their alcoholic siblings. Not wanting to compromise on taste, top bars are innovating really quickly to ensure that equal experiences are given to every guest, regardless of whether or not they are drinking alcohol.”

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