Non-alcoholic spirit market sees raft of NPD to kick off 2018

The non-alcoholic spirit market looks set to see a raft of activity through 2018, as newcomers and existing players reveal plans to tap into growth in this sector.

This month sees the launch of the new non-alcoholic botanical spirit, Borrago, as well as the 0% abv ‘gin’ Labdanum’s off-trade debut in Borough Wines’ stores, while Seedlip’s founder Ben Branson has outlined plans for expansion.

Borrago, which the producers describe as alcohol, sugar and calorie-free, is designed to be used in the same way as gin or vodka, either with tonic or as a base for cocktails. The initial variant is Borrago #47 Paloma blend, which is sold in a 50cl bottle, priced at £19.99.

The drink’s founder, food and drink entrepreneur Tom Tuke-Hastings, said: “I decided to start Borrago because I have a love of food, drink and entertaining. With alcohol being a declining part of this, I struggled to find exciting grown-up non-alcoholic options and wanted to create something that would be delicious, grown-up and worth celebrating with.

“Non-alcoholic drinks choices have previously been seen as childish, sugar-laden and downmarket. I set out to create something sophisticated, that you can celebrate and even show off with. Where you can have the theatre of a cocktail without the alcohol, sugar or calories.”

The drink is made from steam-distilled botanicals. It is described as being fresh and zesty, with a “heady nose that makes your mouth water”, and it has a complex and layered flavour with a long smooth finish. Six botanicals are distilled and processed to retain their unique flavours.

Meanwhile, the 0% alcohol ‘gin’ Labdanum is set to launch in Borough Wines’ nine stores this month. The drink, which is made by distiller, Surendram & Bownes, is also designed as an alternative to spirits. Again it is priced at £20 for a 50cl bottle. The distiller said it has created the drink in a London Dry gin style, and it contains a number of botanicals including juniper, tonka bean, wormwood, rose water, cranberry, orris root, coriander seed, cinnamon, cardamom and clove for spice.

Seedlip: investing to lead and grow the market 

The news comes as non-alcoholic brand Seedlip reports of continued growth, after strong sales and a number of new listings through 2017.

The company plans to launch a new variant in April, and it has hired Claire Smith-Warner with the aim of developing new brands – which won’t be under the Seedlip name – to help drive the category and the company forwards.

Founder Ben Branson told DRN: “Last year was an amazing year for Seedlip. We started with eight employees and were solely London-focused and over 12 months expanded to 50 people in seven countries and selling Seedlip in many top cities in the world. When we went into Ocado and got national availability in Tesco in its new Low/ No Alcohol fixture it was a huge step forwards as a category and for us as a business.

“We are at the start of developing new brands - initially for the UK market - and they won’t be under the Seedlip name, although we will continue with the ethos and learnings from Seedlip, including our commitment to nature. It’s about creating new categories in the NA space. We plan to expand out and we are looking at what styles, flavour profiles and occasions would work for different NA products.”

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