Page 26 - Food & Drink Business Jan-Feb 2020
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Dry supply: the rise of non-alcoholic spirits
Alcohol consumption has been declining steadily
in Australia for the last decade. Drinkers are turning to non-alcoholic and low alcohol alternatives. Co-founder of Melbourne distiller Brunswick Aces Stephen Lawrence
has a look at where this sector is heading.
THE news of a decline in alcohol consumption may come as a surprise to some, particularly in a country with a rich craft beer and micro- distillery scene that is flourishing in tandem with the big old school players. Drinking is embedded in our culture and we have earned ourselves a global reputation for it.
While it would be sacrilege for some Australians to even suggest cracking open an ice-cold non-alcoholic beer, or tuck into a zero proof G&T, the data does not lie.
We are turning our backs on our booze fuelled lifestyles.
Research from Drinkwise shows that 20 per cent of Australians now abstain from
alcohol, an increase of almost double from 11 per cent in 2007.
The move away from alcohol can be attributed to a number of factors: a focus on mental wellbeing; the demands of modern life; and the rise of social media with younger generations not wanting embarrassing images ending up online after a big night.
Calendar events also play a big role. The rise of abstinence months like Dry July and Ocsober challenge Aussies to give up the grog for a month for a worthy cause.
Nielson data revealed there is a generational difference with Millennials less likely to drink
than their elders. Just over half (53 per cent) of Millennials said they had alcohol in the past month, compared to 65 per cent of Generation X and 72 per cent of Baby Boomers.
We created Australia’s first non-alcoholic spirit
two years ago as a group
of neighbours looking for something different to drink during periods of abstinence.
We then released it to
the wider market to answer growing demands. Other brands have since joined the sector and feedback from bars and restaurants says they are increasingly being asked for no or low alcohol options.
Five years ago, non-drinkers would be hard pressed to
find anything of premium quality in the non-alcoholic category. Carbonated options accompanying garish, sugary fruit mocktails served in hurricane cocktail glasses, garnished with a chunk of pineapple and a maraschino cherry were the go.
Thankfully many of the world’s Michelin starred and hatted restaurants are leading the way, offering premium zero-alcohol options to both meet increasing demand and support the growing category.
The non-alcoholic market, covering beers, wines and spirits, is projected to be worth $35 billion globally by 2025.
Currently there are more than 60 brands of non- alcoholic spirits, originating from the US to the UK and Australia, and spanning vodka, gin and dark spirits.
The global movement and demand for adult targeted alternatives that are not sugary post-mix is continuing to increase.
The most telling fact that the category is on an unstoppable rise, is the interest and investment in non- alcoholic start-ups around
the world.
Most prominently, Diageo
in the UK recently bought a large stake in one of the earliest brands on the non- alcoholic scene.
26 | Food&Drink business | January-February 2020 |

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