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No longer the preserve of soft drinks and posh sodas, the alcohol-free category is evolving, and in many respects, it is well-suited to fine food and drink retail so indies can certainly cash in.
As Henry Chevallier Guild, founder of Nonsuch Shrubs, explains, “There is a lot of consumer trust in the fine drink market and expectations of what alcohol-free can be needs to be. Whilst there is a huge demand for familiar experiences just without the alcohol, many consumers will increasingly demand a broader choice and to be catered to in the way they would be if they were drinking alcohol.
“There is still a long way to go on this front and the fine drink market should be where the benchmark is set.”
But for Paul Matthews, founder of Everleaf, it’s more about the range available in the shop than the nature of the shop itself. “There’s a big cross-over between premium alcohol consumers and premium low/no as you’d expect. We sell best in places that have a great drinks offering full-stop.
“Often the non-alcohol drinking occasions might be earlier in the week, so it’s increasing opportunities to sell, which has to be attractive to the fine drink market. These consumers are the flavour-seekers, the connoisseurs, and they’re increasingly looking for non-alcohol, so let’s give them what they want!”, he adds.
As Laura Willoughby, founder of Club Soda, concludes, “Low and no is without a doubt tailored to fine retail, consumers trust their specialist retailers. They know you have impeccable taste. Curating an alcohol-free offer that you are proud of will delight your customers and provide an additional revenue stream.”