There was a time, in the not too distant past when smoking was allowed in pubs and if you wanted to drink something non-alcoholic in a bar you probably drank a fizzy orange, Coke or water.
Stuff’s different now though!
Times have changed and so have attitudes to drinking. A new generation want to socialize but not necessarily ‘drink’ when they drink.
The trend can be traced back to the 80s when alcohol producers began making low and no-alcohol versions of best selling beers and wines.
Quality wasn’t great back then, and the marketing was aimed at those looking to cut down on their drinking rather than at those wished to abstain from alcohol.
Fast forward to 2020 and the scene is completely different.
Drinkers now expect to have a range of quality non-alcoholic drinks are are not just the alcoholic version with the booze omitted.
The new scene doesn’t need alcohol in order to appreciate flavor, and pubs, bars and restaurants are all keen to cater to the new taste
Last year, 2019 saw ‘Dry January’ – an event that marketing analyst firm Neilson estimates 21% of the US population participated in. That’s an impressive figure, just from the health standpoint alone.
As attitudes changed, so did taste. An unwillingness to put up with expensive sugared fruit drinks or plain cola has led to a whole new industry of fascinating botanical drinks.
Companies like Seedlip have begun to produce distilled botanical based drinks that are free of alcohol. These are popular with cocktail mixers as a base for non-alcoholic cocktails.
The trend is for crafted, often distilled and complex flavors.
Gone is the need for syrup and sweetness. In come bitter hints, flowery aromas and exotic fruits, all blended with just as much dedication as any alcohol based cocktail.
In a move very reminiscent of craft breweries or gin blenders, there are bars that have begun to distill their own alcohol free botanical drinks using a rotary evaporator – a device often used in laboratories for evaporative distillation.
Bringing technology in-house like this is a step-change in the industry, and one that could prove very popular.
The internet has also opened up a world of possibilities for home drinkers. A quick search online will take you to a myriad custom drinks manufacturers, many of whom are catering to the modern alcohol free revolution.
Super fast order fulfillment means that you don’t even have to choose local producers if there is something specific you desire.
This is a trend that we can expect to continue.
Attitudes to alcohol across the western world are changing.
Alcohol consumption globally is still rising, but there is a growing sober trend and a growing market to serve that trend.
As long as this sobriety sees benefit in quality ingredients, then we can expect more to come.
Bars and restaurants continue to see the benefits in providing a more holistic approach to the experience of drinking or eating out. And so we continue to see more focus being put on the quality of the experience and ingredients.
This focus will shift away from placing importance on the mere presence of alcohol.
Just don’t call them mocktails...