NoLo is all go!
The total ‘NoLo’ (no and low alcohol) category is in strong growth year-to-date (YTD) with spirits proving the biggest growth driver at +208%. That said, producers have stepped up to the mark across all drink sectors with sophisticated, flavoursome NoLo alternatives to classic alcohol options, writes Gillian Hamill
14 October 2021 | 0
The no/low alcohol category is burgeoning as a direct response to many consumers’ healthier lifestyles. “The alcohol reduction trend looks to be here to stay,” says Kiti Soininen, category director of UK Food & Drink Research at Mintel. “Encouraging moderation is on the government agenda, and cutting back on alcohol is also seen by consumers as offering various benefits, increasing its appeal. Crucially, the quality of the product is improving, meaning that switching to a low or no-alcohol drink should come to no longer be seen as such a sacrifice.
“We are seeing plenty of activity from craft brands and start-ups in this sector,” Soininen adds, “and the commitment of many leading drinks conglomerates to supporting responsible drinking and driving growth of low-/no-alcohol drinks should add to the segment’s momentum.”
A 2021 global report on the future of wine and spirits by Mintel, also states that in the next two years, in a post-Covid context, brands must work harder to keep drinkers engaged. “Drinkers will opt for less but better alcohol, and brands must prove their value by offering relaxation or quality cues,” Mintel reports. “The trend for simplicity will resurface as drinkers opt for minimalist flavours.”
These trends are also reflected in Irish alcohol consumption. New Revenue Clearance figures show that alcohol consumption fell by 10.8% in the first half of 2021 (January-June), compared with the same period last year. Of course, as industry group Drinks Ireland points out, this fall is a result of the closure of the hospitality industry, but is also in line with the long-term trend of consumption declining in Ireland.
At the start of this year, Drinks Ireland released its industry outlook for 2021, stating that drinks producers will be focused on driving recovery this year. An important factor identified within this was the need to meet the demands of a changing drinks consumer through innovation. “In the beer sector, low and non-alcoholic options are becoming more popular, and non-alcoholic beer now accounts for 1% of Ireland’s beer market,” Drinks Ireland stated.
Across all drinks categories, consumers want to indulge in sophisticated, premium and flavourful choices, but are no longer content to accept an accompanying hangover or loss of productivity the next day. Here, we outline the brands ensuring their portfolio fully meets this growing lifestyle trend.
New sparkling dealcoholized wine
After several years of extensive research, Natureo was launched in 2008 – a pioneering brand meeting modern social needs. Following a classic winemaking process in which the grapes are harvested and then fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature, an aromatic wine is obtained.
The wine is then dealcoholized using purely physical procedures, removing the alcohol content. As the grapes have been fermented, all Natureo products are real wine, but dealcoholized.
Natureo’s production process has placed the brand at the forefront of high-quality dealcoholized wines since its creation. Starting with a polyvalent range made out of white, rosé and red wines, Natureo decided to add some pop to its ranks, and is now introducing Natureo Sparkling.
This is a 100% Muscat of Alexandria varietal with a smooth, flavourful, and fresh palate. With its fruity aromas and delicate flavour profile, this is truly a sparkling option for every occasion.
Excellent as an aperitif; wonderful with all kinds of fish, seafood, and rice dishes, Natureo Sparkling is cheerful, bright and festive on the palate.
Ideal served at 8-10°C, this is a true sparkling wine, with no alcohol.
RTM Beverages is a Dublin-based drinks innovation company that is shaking up the fast- growing ‘NoLo’ categories. Early last year, the company launched the Noki & Co. 275ml range of pre-mixed alcohol-free Gin & Tonic flavoured drinks.
‘The reaction to our 275ml alcohol-free G&T range has been extremely exciting,” says Stephen Dillon, founder of RTM Beverages. “There has been a real gap out there for authentic alcohol-free solutions when people are out socialising but not drinking alcohol for any number of reasons. Noki & Co. tastes like a real Gin & Tonic so designated drivers and non-drinkers can join in on a night out without the side effects of alcohol.”
“The latest innovation from the company is Noki & Co Juniper Edition – a 50cl distilled non – alcoholic Irish spirit,” adds Dillon. “As the name suggests our Juniper Edition is distinctly Juniper forward but is also complimented by other classic gin botanicals. Some people prefer to mix their own drink and our 50cl range is ideal for this.”
Despite being just over a year old, Noki & Co. has enjoyed considerable success and is widely available in numerous shops, bars and restaurants throughout the country.
The Noki & Co 50cl Juniper Edition is available to the on and off-trade in Ireland now.
Q&A with… Mark Livings, CEO, Lyre’s
Q: How is the Lyre’s range currently performing in sales terms within Ireland? Which are the most popular SKUs and what are the factors behind this?
A: Lyre’s launched in Ireland in January of this year and in nine short months has become the brand with the strongest, demonstrated growth trajectory, taking share from all leading brands and moving to number two in the non-alcoholic spirits category*.
- The Lyre’s Classico ready to drink (RTD) 250ml can four-pack has proven to be the most popular Lyre’s SKU since launch in Tesco in August.
- Within the 70cl range, American Malt comes in at number one due to its unique flavour and high distribution.
- Dry London Spirit is second in terms of volume, due to the popularity and awareness of non-alcoholic gin.
- Italian Spritz performed in third position, driven by strong seasonality, particularly the summer occasion – the perfect non-alcoholic spritz.
Q: What are the consumer trends within low and no alcohol cocktails and spirits that have inspired Lyre’s innovation within your range and how are consumers responding to more adventurous taste profiles?
A: The total no/low category is in strong growth year-to-date (YTD). This growth is primarily being driven by the spirits category at +231% YTD*.
The Irish non-alcoholic sector has seen a 116% increase in the sale of spirits in 2021 compared to the same period in 2020**. Millennials are drinking 20% less than their parents were at the same age, and consumers overall are making healthier choices***. The total global alcohol beverage market is vast, now totalling more than $1 trillion US in yearly sales. The market for non/low alcoholic beverages gained 3% of this market share, which is set to grow by over 31% by 2024****.
With consumer demand for mindful choices of food and beverage growing, Lyre’s was created to replicate the world’s most popular spirits in a non-alcoholic format, each as close to the original premium volume spirit as possible, and equally as delicious in taste.
A frictionless swap of a Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirit for the original alcoholic ingredient delivers the benefits of a premium sophisticated non-alcohol drink without any compromise. The expanding Lyre’s portfolio of 14 premium non-alcoholic spirits is capable of crafting 90% of the world’s best-selling cocktails.
Q: What new NPD have you coming up in the pipeline and what makes these new products stand out from what’s currently on the market?
A: Lyre’s range of impossibly crafted non-alcoholic premium RTDs have been developed to meet growing demand for on-the-go options in no/low alcohol. We offer consumers sophisticated pre-mixed drinks; on-the-go drinks for all occasions that look great and taste exquisite.
Following on from the huge success of Classico, four new RTDs have been launched and include: a classic G&T, an Amalfi Spritz, American Malt & Cola, and Dark ‘n Spicy.
Our range is the most comprehensive range of non-alcoholic drinks, covering many different categories (spirits, sparkling, RTD) vs any competitor – providing consumers with a choice for any occasion.
We have excellent product credentials with low calorie, vegan, gluten free products.
Q: On your website, you state that the Lyre’s range offers the most awarded non-alcoholic spirit beverages in the world. How important are these achievements within your overall growth strategy?
A: The International Spirits Challenge is the most authoritative, respected, and influential spirits competition in the world, and Industry thought-leaders recognised Lyre’s products with a total of 13 medals across the No/Low category: awarding one gold, ten silver and two bronze medals.
To date, Lyre’s has won over 200 awards globally, as judged by the world’s leading palates and beverage authorities. These achievements set us apart from other brands in the market, proving to our customer that when you choose to opt out of alcohol, you don’t need to opt out of a sophisticated drink, or compromise on taste.
Q: How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the business and in particular, your relationships with customers within the off-trade retail sector?
A: In 2020 Lyre’s was a nascent product and delivered sales of £4 million during the year (globally). Lyre’s witnessed 1,300% growth across the full 12 months, even in the face of the onset of the pandemic.
Just last year, the company completed a seed-plus funding round, valuing the business at €115 million and crowning it as the most valuable independent brand to date in the rapidly expanding no/low alcohol spirits category. This milestone was achieved in under 24 months of trading, during which time Lyre’s has become the most widely distributed non-alcoholic spirits brand.
The launch of Lyre’s into the Irish market with Richmond Marketing was unique as it happened right in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lyre’s gained rapid and ubiquitous distribution in the off-trade and is now going from strength to strength within the on-trade channel as venues reopen and embrance the category to meet rising demand from their patrons.
Q: How do you plan to market the brand during 2021/2022 and what are your targets for expansion within the retail sector, in terms of increased listings and sales?
A: Lyre’s as a brand has experienced great success in Ireland over the last year with a fantastic response from both consumers and trade.
The continued focus will be driving distribution of the entire Lyre’s range across the country and increasing visibility in store. Innovation will always be part of our strategy and we have seen great success with our NPD already this year with Classico, and have an exciting pipeline of new products launching in Q4 and into 2022.
Ireland is a key market; we’ve only just dipped our toes in the water, and we have huge expansion plans for next year. This includes new product launches, increasing on-trade distribution and visibility, and hosting consumer-facing festivals and events.
*(Source: Collated EPOS Data to week 28 2021)
**(Source: Collated EPOS data c.50% of Total Market read to week 20 2021)
****(Source: No- and Low-Alcohol Strategic Study 2021 from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis)
A choice not a compromise
The same 17 varieties of apples. The same care and dedication to the task. The same time. 18 months of fermentation to reach perfection. Bulmers 0.0 is everything that has made Bulmers Cider great since 1935 but because Bulmers uses a non-alcohol producing yeast, it is a 0.0 drink.
That also means that the taste is not altered by having to remove the alcohol after production. It’s a natural process. It is a choice not a compromise. Just as many meat eaters like to go veggie sometimes, there are also times when we want all the refreshment but less alcohol. Bulmers 0.0 gives consumers that choice while remaining Bulmers to the core. The Bulmers 0.0 four-pack is the number one selling zero percent cider SKU within the Irish off-trade.
Now you can!
As the number one non-alcoholic beer on the market, Heineken 0.0 is challenging conventions around beer moments and alcohol moderation when it comes to how we socialise in Ireland. Those moments when you thought you couldn’t have a beer, now you can. As part of the ‘Now You Can campaign’, Heineken 0.0 recently launched the One for the Road bar, popping up in breathtaking locations across Ireland.
Research shows that 60% of people plan to maintain a more balanced lifestyle as society re-opens, with 66% of people claiming that health and fitness goals are more important to them now than ever before. This shift in attitudes surrounding lifestyle choices and alcohol consumption has led people to look for alcohol-free alternatives, with findings reporting that 75% of people feel more comfortable ordering alcohol-free options now than in previous years. As the front runner on the market, Heineken 0.0 offers the perfect alcohol-free alternative – guilt-free refreshment, only 69 calories per bottle and made from all natural ingredients.
The One for the Road bar, as part of the ‘Now You Can’ campaign offers those lucky enough to stumble across it a truly memorable and meaningful pint, without compromising on taste. The top secret picturesque locations have been kept a mystery, offering those who find them a very special surprise.
TV broadcaster, performance coach and Heineken 0.0 brand ambassador, Anna Geary launched the ‘One for the Road’ bar at a beautiful hillwalking location in Wicklow.
“Coming from a sporting background, living a healthy and active lifestyle has always been a priority for me,” Geary says. “I’m also an extremely social person, so I hate the idea of missing out on good times with friends in order to prioritise my sports and performance goals. Heineken 0.0 gives me the freedom to go out socialising with friends and enjoy a few beers in the lead up to sports events, without worrying that I am compromising my fitness.”
“At Heineken 0.0, gone are the days that ‘not drinking’ was viewed as boring and unsociable and we’re not surprised that Irish people are looking to maintain a more balanced lifestyle as society re-opens,” says Anna Walsh, brand manager for Heineken 0.0%.
“This bar is another step in the right direction to challenge the status quo,” she added. “If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon the bar while out and about, drop by and enjoy a freshly poured, complimentary pint of Heineken 0.0 in the most stunning surroundings.”
Keep your eyes peeled for the One for Road bar popping up on Instagram @HeinekenIreland.
Heineken 0.0 is a non-alcoholic lager brewed with a unique recipe that guarantees a distinct balanced taste, stocked nationwide across the Irish off-trade.
Noreast is an independent family business based in Dundalk which has been specialising in sourcing, importing and marketing an exclusive range of the finest nolo beers to the Irish drinks trade since its formation in 1995 such as Erdinger, Budvar and Krombacher.
Erdinger Alkoholfrei (ABV 0.5%) is produced exclusively in the Bavarian town of Erding. It is brewed to the highest standards according to the strict Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Besides being pleasingly refreshing, it has reduced calories (107 kj/25 Kcal per 100ml). The monosaccharides, like glucose and fructose, contained in Erdinger Alkoholfrei provide energy quickly, while polysaccharides (carbohydrates) provide longer-lasting energy.
In the late 90s, Erdinger Alkoholfrei revolutionized the beer market as the first non-alcoholic beer to also be a true sports drink. With its isotonic properties, vitamin B12 and folic acid (B9), Erdinger Alkoholfrei is the ideal regeneration drink after sports. Despite numerous imitators of its positioning and colour code, it has never relinquished its market leadership
Erdinger Alkoholfrei Grapefruit & Lemon (330ml NRB) offers a new taste for a new wheat beer generation; refreshing with the bittersweet taste of fruit.
Made with purely natural ingredients and without any artificial aromas or preservatives, it is isotonic and contains vitamins (B9, B12, C). This fruity variant of Erdinger Alkoholfrei is also particularly popular within the female target group. Overall, Erdinger Alkoholfrei Grapefruit and Lemon is a perfect product for the fast-growing, non-alcoholic mixed beer segment
Noreast also distributes Budejovicky Budvar Non Alcoholic (330ml NRB). Its combination of traditional Budvar brewing methods and the use of only the highest quality natural ingredients, creates a beer with a delicate, full flavour but a minimum content of alcohol for those who enjoy a great beer flavour but don’t want an alcoholic beverage. (ABV 0.5%)
Another option is Krombacher Alkoholfrei 0.0% (330ml NRB) – this 0.0% pils is easy drinking and ultra-refreshing with a well-balanced malt character and light hop aromas. Full flavoured with that famous Krombacher finish, it’s bright and golden in colour. The malty sweetness means it pairs perfectly with garlic and olive forward pesto and pasta dishes; also harmonious with fish dishes.
MacIvors Alcohol Free Cider (330ml NRB) is a refreshing new product for health-conscious consumers the multi-award-winning cider producer, MacIvors.
The Co. Armagh-based company’s new alcohol-free cider is also gluten-free, low in calories and vegan-friendly. With only 76 calories per bottle, this novel drink has been created by experienced cider maker Greg MacNeice, who is also the company’s managing director, to offer a range of benefits for those concerned about health while still maintaining an authentic and delicious cider taste.
Distributed by Noreast, the alcohol-free cider will be available in 330ml bottles in the off-trade at RRP €1.79.
Mac Ivors has collected a host of industry awards including Blas na hEireann as well as UK Great Taste Awards. The ciders are made from 100% fresh pressed apples that have been grown on their family farm and have been developed to provide a richly flavoured, refreshing and aromatic craft beverage. For more information, visit www.macivors.com.
Estrella Free Damm from Spain is the non-alcoholic member of the Estrella family and is a clean, sparkling, transparent amber colour with shades of gold. It has a light head and lively fine bubbles. It has a clean, intense aroma, with hops taking centre stage and with hints of fresh white flowers. The taste is delicate, with suggestions of grains and toast. The mouthfeel is smooth but with personality. A beer that is fresh with just the right amount of bitterness, available in 330ml cans.
Belle & Co is an innovative 0% alcohol-free sparkling wine with less than half the calories of a typical sparkling wine. This zero-alcohol option is also lower sugar, vegan and gluten free.
Available in a 75cl format Brut and Rosé, Belle & Co comes in standard recognisable sparkling wine bottles with a mushroom cork. It’s a carefully crafted alternative to traditional alcoholic sparkling wine, great as an aperitif, just right with party nibbles or just whenever your shoppers fancy a bit of fizz! The best part is its only 22 calories per 100ml – one of the lowest available in the market for zero alcohol.
How is it made? Belle & Co is a fermented grape juice produced by a specialist, state-of-the-art producer of fermented products. This innovative new bacterial fermentation of grape juice reduces sugars by 30% and produces the same acid bi-products of a yeast fermentation without the production of alcohol or carbon dioxide. The reduction in sugars and the production of acid bi-products ensures Belle & Co. tastes like a wine and not like a soft drink. The fermented grape juice is transported to a specialist sparkling wine producer where green tea and dried tannin are added to create the mouthfeel of sparkling wine. CO2 is trickled in very gently. The bubbles of Belle & Co. achieve a streaming effect and elegant mousse. It is excellent value for money and proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Punked up flavour
No-alcohol just got punked up. BrewDog Punk AF lives up to its billing with all the flavour but none of the alcohol. Brewed with eight different hops from North America, New Zealand and Europe; juicy tropical fruit mixes it up with grassy and pine notes. All sitting on a solid malt bassline. The bitter finish belies its ABV, rolling in at 35 IBUs to provide the perfect retort to those who push alcohol-free beer devoid of character.
BrewDog is on a mission to prove that alcohol-free does not equate to taste-free. And now it brings a new alternative to the mainstream. A beer for those seeking a point of difference at 0.5% ABV that brings all the attitude of the flagship, Punk IPA.
Punk IPA was the beer that kick-started the craft beer revolution and Punk AF is the next step in their desire to brew beer for every taste, for every occasion. Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Unrivalled taste, zero alcohol
McGuigan Wines pledges to make great quality wine accessible to everyone around the world for every occasion. This pledge to excellence has led the company to be named IWSC International Winemaker of the Year a record-breaking four-times and its commitment to alcohol free wines is no different. McGuigan Zero is a trailblazer in its category.
The range offers an unparalleled alcohol-free experience both on the nose and palate, launching with shiraz, chardonnay, rosé, sauvignon blanc and sparkling. McGuigan Zero is created using state-of-the-art spinning cone technology. By drawing the wine into super fine layers for efficient vaporisation, alcohol may be removed at lower temperatures than ever before, thus resulting in a truly beautiful tasting product. The fruit has been sourced and selected specially for McGuigan Zero from premium vineyards in South Eastern Australia. The quality of the fruit and its adaptability to the alcohol removal process ensures that customers are drinking the best possible alcohol-free wines. McGuigan Wines, Ireland’s number one Australian wine brand, is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
The icon of Weissbier
Paulaner is the number one Weissbier in Germany and one of the world’s favourites.
The brand now has a non-alcoholic option, Paulaner Weissbier 0,0%. Strictly non-alcoholic, this Weissbier has great flavour. Thanks to its balanced combination of fine malt aromas, refreshingly fruity Weissbier flavours and a pleasing hint of sweetness, the non-alcoholic Weissbier 0,0% can be enjoyed on any occasion. This isotonic thirst-quencher is brewed using the traditional Paulaner Weissbier technique and the alcohol is carefully removed after a thorough maturing process. A complex procedure removes all the alcohol from the beer, without losing any of its refreshing flavour.
The popularity of Paulaner beer has always extended beyond the city limits of Munich. The special enjoyment of beer, the highly skilled brew masters and the famous Bavarian way of life are just a few factors contributing to Paulaner’s success – locally and internationally. More than 2 million hectolitres leave the brewery each year – travelling from Munich Langwied to over 70 countries.
“Good, better, Paulaner” is the apt well-known slogan of Paulaner Brewery. The name Paulaner has stood for the highest quality and Munich beer culture since 1634.
Paulaner is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.
Stylish alternative to alcohol
Introducing Strykk, the distilled non-alcoholic spirits brand with all the spirit but none of the alcohol. The face of drinking is changing, so now consumers can enjoy a night on Strykk, the modern, flavour driven and stylish alternative to alcohol. Stryyk was launched in 2018 to satisfy the increasing demand for a quality, modern and stylish alternative to alcohol. Distilled and bottled in the UK, the Strykk range features non-alcoholic spirits which make switching out shoppers’ favourite spirit for an alcohol-free option easier than ever. Meticulously developed over two years in collaboration with top bartenders, the expert Strykk team carefully reconstructed flavours of spiced rum, London dry gin and traditional vodka and created Strykk Not R*m, Strykk Not G*n, Strykk Not V*dka, and Strykk Not Vanilla V*dka.
With more of us than ever choosing to reduce our alcohol consumption or cut it out altogether (up to 50% of 18-34s have opted for a no/low drink on a night out according to recent research), Strykk gives a real, unpretentious alternative.
Created by drinks industry entrepreneur and founder of Funkin Cocktails, Alex Carlton in recognition of the growing demand from Gen Xrs, Strykk is predominantly targeted at 25-45 year-olds and positioned as an inclusive brand for those who choose not to drink alcohol, are having a night off or mixing up their night, but still want to be part of the party.
Elegantly Spirited CEO, Alex Carlton says: “Strykk is making sobriety acceptable, simple and not anti-social. With the new generation of party-goers choosing to drink less alcohol and sometimes none at all, Strykk offers non-alcoholic spirit which enables them to enjoy the drinks they love and stay in the moment, without compromising on taste, experience or calories. As we like to say, Strykk has all of the spirit, none of the alcohol.”
Strykk non-alcohol spirits are proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam. The four lines currently available are:
Strykk Not Gin: a distillation including hints of coriander, sage and basil and the classic juniper notes that mark this as a derivation of a London dry gin.
Strykk Not Vodka: a distillation combining the warming spice of capsicum and the cooling notes of cucumber and menthol to emulate the characteristics of a classic pure vodka. Build with lime juice and soda for a twist on a vodka, lime and soda.
Strykk Not Rum: a distillation that blends sweet sugar cane and raisin notes with the characteristic vanilla and oakwood tones that create a perfectly balanced spiced rum alternative.
Strykk Not Vanilla V*dka: infused with Madagascan vanilla beans. A sweet toffee and buttery aroma with a warming capsicum finish. Perfect for a non-alcoholic Pornstar Martini, Espresso Martini, or mixed over ice with cola. It’s 100% natural with no sugar, no fat and no artificial flavours.
Please drink exceptionally
Atopia is a 0.5% ABV ultra-low alcohol spirit crafted from natural distillates, extracts, and flavours to create a new breed of spirits.
Lesley Gracie, the award-winning master distiller of Hendrick’s Gin & the Cabinet of Curiosity, crafted this one-of-a kind liquid “to ensure no compromise on flavour is experienced when drinking the ultra-low alcohol spirit”. Gracie wanted to create an accessible yet special flavour profile to elevate the moderated drinking experience.
The total no/low category is in strong growth YTD and spirits is the biggest growth driver at +208%*. An Atopia and Fever-Tree Tonic contains 75 times less alcohol than a Gin & Tonic, allowing for a more thoughtful lifestyle.
Atopia’s liquid is a natural distillate of orange, juniper, coriander, angelica root and lemon, forms the foundation of the spirit. Atopia Citrus Spice is best enjoyed mixed with Fever-Tree tonic water, served with plenty of ice and an orange slice.
When customers choose to drink more mindfully, it shouldn’t mean a compromise on taste. Atopia is the ultimate premium no/low spirit of choice, available in specialised off-licenses.
*(Source: Collated EPOS Data c.60% of Total Market to Week 32 202)