Willow reformulates to tap into CBD and alcohol-free boom

Willow has been reformulated a year after launch to take advantage of the CBD boom and to reduce its abv from 4.4% to 0.5%.

The apple spirit base of the drink now features a 15 mg broad spectrum CBD infusion, which has been complemented with the addition of English strawberry juice. The original recipe remains unchanged with flavours including pineapple, Kaffir lime, cracked black pepper and cherry tomatoes. 

The drink, which is designed to be paired with tonic or soda water, is distilled to 80% abv, which is then diluted down to 0.5% using natural spring water from the Lake District. The reduction in abv is a direct result of feedback from larger commercial partners Willow has recently entered discussions with, according to the company.

It said the resulting liquid “maintains the viscosity and citrus bite” of its previous incarnation, but is now rounded out with a “stronger fruit punch and the added mellow smoothness of the CBD”.

William Borrell, founder, and owner of Ladies & Gentleman bars and Vestal vodka, said the inclusion of CBD is a deliberate move to “game change” the no and low-alcohol category.

He said: “Dropping the abv makes commercial sense; it is what consumers want. However, we are less about being evangelical and more about taking a distinctively laid-back and recreational approach to no and low-alcohol – hence the CBD! There’s little or no point trying to be preachy – people just want to chill out and enjoy an adult drink. By tapping into the benefits of the world’s most famous functional plant, Willow enables them to do just that.

“The brand’s marketing will reflect a more light-hearted and edgy attitude in this sector – and that includes the message across social media that Willow is #ChillAF.”

Willow Low-Alcohol (0.5% abv) has an rrp of £16.

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