By Rachel Arthur
With the momentum behind Dry January stronger than ever, a raft of new products are hitting the shelves this month to cater for health-conscious consumers.
Desperados Virgin 0.0%
Heineken’s Desperados is rolling out its first alcohol-free innovation, Desperados Virgin 0.0%.
Created from a ‘unique recipe of citrus and zest of lemon,’ the brand initially launched in France last year. It is now rolling out globally: firstly in the Netherlands and Poland this month, followed by Belgium in February, before launching in additional markets throughout 2021.
Diederik Vos, Desperados Brand Director, said: “Desperados is a brand defined by its boundary-pushing spirit and the launch of Desperados Virgin 0.0% is a major strategic next step on this exciting journey. With a growing number of drinkers seeking alcohol-free alternatives, we are delighted to expand Desperados into the low and no-alcohol drinks category to deliver a refreshing, new taste experience.”
Desperados Virgin 0.0% will complement the brand’s wider portfolio, including the original beer, Mojito, Lime and Ginger. The Desperados brand – lager with Tequila flavor – is available in 84 countries.
Lower ABV hard seltzer
New entrant Lilo has launched in the UK: offering a lower ABV hard seltzer.
The 3.5% ABV drink uses sparkling Scottish water and distilled botanical spirits. Its has two flavors: white grape and elderflower; and cranberry and rosehip. Each drink contains 44 calories.
Ivana Markotic, Marketing Director at The Alcoholic Water Company, commented: “As the UK continues to embrace the hard seltzer movement that is taking over the world, we are excited to bring a premium and flavor-focused addition to the category.
"We’re bringing an artful approach to Lilo - inspired by creativity and using the perfect blend of bespoke botanicals and pure Scottish water as the base. Lilo is the perfect option for those looking to explore a more mindful approach to drinking, without compromising on flavor”.
Crossip non-alcoholic spirits
Low & no startup Crossip has debuted with a trio of non-alcoholic spirits in the UK.
The brand launches with three variants: Dandy Smoke, Fresh Citrus and Pure Hibiscus (rsp: £22/50cl).
Dandy Smoke is reminiscent of mezcal, while Fresh Citrus is similar to a fruit punch and Pure Hibiscus a non-alcoholic alternative to Italian bitter, according to the brand.
The range aims to create a “powerful sensory experience” based on the ingredients in the drink, rather than mimicking an existing spirit like gin or vodka.
For every bottle sold, Crossip has pledged to donate 5% of sales to good social causes. Its current partners include Alcohol Change UK, Papyrus, Calm and Centrepoint UK.
Heineken 0.0 multipacks
Heineken’s alcohol-free beer, Heineken 0.0, is launching in new 12-pack cans in select markets US markets: with a national roll-out to follow in March.
The drink launched in the US in 2019 and is now adding the new format for Dry January, eying up growth in non-alcoholic multipacks.
“We’re picking up on the continuing trend of adults abstaining or reducing alcohol consumption, which we see as an opportunity to boost business during one of the traditionally slower months of the year,” says Chuck Boddy, Senior Brand Manager, Heineken USA. “With over 20% of drinkers taking part in Dry January, and with similar movements like Sober October, we think Heineken® 0.0 can drive sales and profits by engaging beer drinkers who still want a beer but who may be resolved for a time to forgo alcohol.
“January may be dry, but retailers can still include Non-Alc products in the category that drive store traffic. Additionally, non-alcoholic 12-packs are growing +10.7% [according to Nielsen figures], with no high-end import brands in this pack size, representing an incremental sales and profit opportunity for retailers.”
New London Light launches in the US
Salcombe Distilling Co. is launching a new zero alcohol spirit in the US this month.
The company launched in the UK in 2016 – named after the shipbuilding town of Salcombe on the south Devon coast – and is now launching New London Light in the US.
“The drink is crafted by first distilling three botanicals; rich Macedonian juniper berries, ginger and habanero capsicum. Fifteen additional botanicals are blended into the base liquid delivering complex layers with hints of citrus orange and sage,” says the brand. “With its delicious full body, thirst-quenching zest and distinct flavor, NLL sets a new benchmark in the low and no ABV space.”
Free of sugar and allergens, the 0% ABV spirit is also low in calories (<1 cal per fl oz) and vegan-friendly.
“NLL is made with all-natural ingredients chosen principally for their flavor characteristics and complementary health benefits. Juniper, cardamom, ginger, habanero capsicum, orange, sage, cascarilla bark and lemongrass are all loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain. The prominent notes of orange in the signature serve not only provide a tangy citrus top note to NLL, but its high level of Vitamin C is great for your immune system. The additional garnish of sage, with its bittersweet earthiness provides an important balance to the flavor and is loaded with minerals, vitamins and antioxidants to support brain function.”
In the US, Salcombe Distilling Co.’s products are now available in New England, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire with a SRP of $34.99.
Capturing the Pacific Northwest
AMASS has launched Riverine, a non-alcoholic spirit designed to capture the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest.
The Los Angeles botanics company already produces Dry Gin and Botanic Vodka, and this month is adding its alcohol-free option. In place of alcohol, Riverine uses natural botanicals to deliver a complex flavor profile and unique finish consumers want from sophisticated spirits.
“With our line of clean botanic spirits, we wanted to offer a premium culinary experience for all AMASS consumers, regardless of their drinking habits,” says Morgan McLachlan, Co-founder, CPO, and Master Distiller for AMASS. “Riverine is inspired by the dense coniferous forests of the Canadian Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. The result isn’t a gin proxy, but rather a nuanced, sophisticated spirit in its own right.”
Riverine contains a regional blend of 14 organic botanicals including Sorrel and Sumac. Each botanical is individually distilled using a proprietary hydrosteam distillation process: 'In this key step, water vapor - instead of alcohol - is used to extract essential oils for a crisp and evergreen flavor profile reminiscent of the towering firs and coastal mountains of British Columbia.'
Riverine can be used in cocktails, or sipped over ice with a splash of tonic. Distilled and bottled in British Columbia, Riverine is zero calories, does not contain added sugar, sweeteners, artificial colors or flavors, and is vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free. It retails for $35 online, launching on January 25.
UK brewery Bristol Beer Factory has launched its first alcohol free beer in collaboration with Talk Club, a male ‘mental fitness’ charity.
Clear Head, a 0.5% ABV brew, combines two US hops Mosiac and Citra. With flavors of sharp citrus, apple and stone fruits, Clear Head also has added lactose for a subtle smooth creamy sweetness, which then finishes with a crisp dryness on the palate.
5% of every bottle or pint sold will go directly to Talk Club: which provides a support network and community for men. The beer is available now in 330ml bottle formats through Bristol Beer Factory.
When publicans and restaurants reopen after lockdown, it will also be available in keg throughout 2021.
French brewery FrogBeer has launched its first line of non-alcoholic craft beer, Incroyable.
The 0.5% ABV line has four brews:
• Incroyable Blonde : ‘fine and delcate with citrus hop notes and a hint of pine from Cascade hops’
• Incroyable IPA : a ‘complex beer with bitterness and tropical fruit notes’
• Incroyable Blanche : a blanche beer with yuzu juice
• Incroyable Stout (0,5% alc. vol) : a stout with notes of chocolate and coffee.
The new products are available in FrogBeer’s FrogPubs with a pint at 4,50€, or can be ordered online in 33cl bottles at 2,95€.
Gin brand Gordon’s is launching alcohol-free Gordon’s 0.0 in the UK: sold in a 70cl bottle via Amazon and Tesco with a RRP of £14.
“Gordon’s 0.0% is made using the same finest distilled botanicals as Gordon’s London Dry Gin, providing the bold, juniper-led character which has helped to make Gordon’s renowned the world over,” says Gordon’s owner Diageo.
“With low and no alcohol spirits currently the fastest growing segment within the alcohol category in the UK, at +33% across the off trade [Nielsen figures], the new innovation chimes with current consumer behaviour which has seen people increasingly looking for choice for different occasions.
“Following a unique distillation process, which involves each botanical being individually immersed in water, heated and then distilled before being expertly blended together, Gordon’s 0.0% perfectly captures the essence of Gordon’s and offers a delicious alcohol-free alternative without having to compromise on taste and experience.”
Gordon’s 0.0% joins recent innovations such as Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon Distilled Gin (37.5%ABV) and Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin (38% ABV) – which launched in 2017.
Optimist Drinks, a collection of distilled botanical spirits made without alcohol, sugar or additives, has launched in the US.
Founded by a husband and wife duo, the drinks are created and distilled in LA using a blend of ingredients. The craft spirits come in three variants designed to offer a sensory journey around the cultures, landscapes and mindsets of the city: to salt-sprayed coastlines (‘bright’), verdant canyons (‘fresh’) and arid desert (‘smokey’).
Bright is inspired by Venice Beach with notes of citrus, sherbert and salty sunshine featuring lemon, jasmine, green mandarin, lavender, turmeric, cornmint, orange, tangerine, fennel, myrrh and cinnamon leaf.
Fresh takes its cue from the verdant Topanga canyons after a late spring rain with notes of wild herbs, wet leaves and earthy pine from juniper berries, cilantro, lime peel, fennel, lovage, basil, angelica root, red thyme, tarragon, jasmine, habanero, oregano and tangerine.
Smokey takes its inspiration from the High Desert at sunset with warming and intense notes of bonfire, bittersweetness and spice from lapsang souchong, bitter red orange, clove, ginger, sage, turmeric, bergamot, cinnamon leaf, habanero, geranium, valencia orange, and jasmine.
Optimist Drinks is B Corp pending and directs 2% of sales to provide mental health support to underserved young people: starting with Safe Place for Youth in Venice, CA.
Brooklyn Brewery expands non-alcoholic portfolio
Brooklyn Brewery has expanded its non-alcoholic line with the introduction of Special Effects IPA.
The IPA follows the 2019 launch of the craft brewer's first non-alcoholic brew: Special Effects Hoppy Amber.
"Special Effects IPA's full, hoppy flavor tastes exactly like a regular beer, but therein lies the special effect - it's not," says the brewery.
“During development, we held ourselves to the same quality standards as any other beer in the Brooklyn portfolio, but Special Effects IPA posed an alluring technical challenge; could a non-alcoholic IPA actually be delicious? People will be glad to see that Special Effects IPA tastes like IPA! In this case we’re a bit closer to a classic, West Coast IPA, with a light to moderate body, good fruit, a nice hop bite and a floral, citrus hop aroma.”
Special Effects IPA is available in the US as of this month in the brewery's 30+ state footprint in 6 packs of 12oz cans.