Aecorn takes Seedlip path to prepare for full off-trade launch

A consumer desire for more alcohol-free drinks and bitter flavours has created a “perfect storm” for non-alcoholic aperitif brand Aecorn, according to managing director Claire Warner.

Aecorn Aperitifs is a Diageo- backed sister company of Seedlip, a pioneer within the alcohol-free spirit category.

It currently comprises three variants: Aecorn Dry, Aecorn Bitter and Aecorn Aromatic. The drinks are made from English- grown Pinot Noir, Pinor Meunier and Chardonnay grapes, pressed early and blended with appetite- stimulating herbs, roots and bitter botanicals.

Warner told DRN: “We recently launched it into the on- trade and it automatically knows how to use Aecorn, and has responded very positively to it to create non-alcoholic drinks.

“There has been a real growing interest in vermouth and bitter Amaros and I think bartenders see Aecorn as a real extension of that.

“Plus, consumers are really interested in the Spritz at the moment, which is also something that can work for us.

There is a consumer pull and a bartender push, so everyone understands these products without us having to do a lot of education. Seedlip has done a lot of work for us already about what to drink when you are not drinking. It was almost as if there was a thirst for more. Bartenders wanted more – particularly bitter flavours – so we have given them that, and it is working well.”

The trio of drinks has been launched in high-end on-trade bars and it also has a one-month exclusive listing with Selfridges, which is the same way Seedlip was launched.

Warner said: “The reaction for Aecorn in Selfridges was incredibly positive and there was a natural understanding about the way in which these drinks could be used. It didn’t feel as though consumers were coming in and being intimidated, they were just interested.

“Essentially, when you take alcohol out it is common to add sugar, so we did a lot of work to find a similar mouthfeel to alcohol without adding too much sugar.

“In fact, two of the products have no added sugar at all. We wanted this to be something you could enjoy with food and adding sugar would change that experience.

“These are drinks that need some dilution, like Italian liqueurs. So at the least they need ice, or a splash of soda. The hero drink for us is the Nogroni, which includes Seedlip and Aecorn Aromatic.”

Warner said the recommended way for retailers to merchandise the drinks is to put them within the low and no-alcohol section.

“This is so that consumers know what they are buying and understand it contains no alcohol.

“There still needs to be some signposting though.

“In the on-trade it is a bit different because it is positioned more as a very flavourful, delicious brand that – by the way – contains no alcohol. Aecorn is being integrated into cocktail menus and isn’t just stuck at the back on the alcohol-free back page.”

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