Are alcohol-free spirits the future market leaders?

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Over the last few years, gin has been firmly in the spotlight in the world of spirits, with plenty of distilleries producing interesting and unique flavour combinations.

However, now it’s the turn of non-alcoholic spirits to have their time in the limelight. Sales of alcohol-free spirits have soared in recent years, increasing 506% from 2014 to 2019. The increase doesn’t appear to be slowing down, with customers spending £5.4 million on 171,000 litres of these types of drinks in supermarkets so far in 2020.

Following these market trends, British producers of non-alcoholic spirits have begun to spring up. Back in 2014 there were no British-made options in this category, but last year that number increased to 70, with predictions it will double by 2024.

It is thought that the sudden growth in the industry stems from both young and old consumers changing their habits. The young appear to drink less alcohol than older generations did, while older people are beginning to moderate their consumption for health reasons. Being able to enjoy a favourite tipple, without the effects of the alcohol itself, is becoming appealing for much of the population.

Many of the successful alcohol-free spirits producers are small, artisan distillers, who use traditional techniques to produce unique, high-quality products. Just as in the alcoholic spirits market, makers source fruits, herbs and botanical ingredients to produce complex flavours that really are a convincing and delicious substitute for traditional spirits.

Popular choices include gin alternatives and substitutes for aperitifs such as Aperol. These make refreshing summer (or late summer!) drinks that can also be made into alcohol-free cocktails. Why not grab your engraved highball glasses and decide whether you think non-alcoholic spirits make a beverage to rival the classics?

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