The following was written for boozedancing.com, by Aled Nelmes of Bubblebase: Wales’ first Bubble Tea Bar.
If you saw the most recent series of Dragons Den, you would have found it hard to go 2 or 3 episodes without seeing a new startup riding the non-alcoholic drinks trend. One of which was Impossibrew, an alcohol-free beer designed to help you blend in amongst your beer drinking friends.
There’s a reason these non/low or ‘nolo’ drinks are forming the basis of so many new business ideas: the non-alcoholic drinks market experienced 36% growth in 2020 and is worth $96 million globally. Now in 2022, 58% of global consumers are drinking more non-alcoholic and low-ABV cocktails (NoLo) than a year ago.
Why switch to non-alcoholic drinks?
Reasons for the switch vary between cultures and communities however the most popular reasons to switch to non-alcoholic beverages are:
- Weight loss
- Better quality sleep
- Hangover free mornings
Top 5 Non-Alcoholic Drinks trends
The best part is, whether you’re a gin queen, beer drinker or simply looking for something completely different, there is an array of options available.
The top 5 non-alcoholic drinks trends include:
- Craft beers
- Bubble tea
When it comes to navigating the top brands and the best blend-in drinks to try, we’ve got the complete guide below.
Non-alcohol beer is predicted to dominate one fifth of the US beer market by the end of 2022. The trend is growing so much that businesses like ABV Technology are producing machines which remove alcohol from beer, which are being sold and rented around the world.
And whilst previously ordering an “alcohol free beer please barkeep” would have ensued a howl of comments from even your closest friends, brands such as Drop Bear Beer based in Swansea are changing the game by designing non-alcoholic beers that blend-in and taste like the real thing, so you can ask for a “drop bear” instead.
“Since I opened the very first Bubble Tea cafe in Cardiff back in 2012, bubble tea has gone from an acquired taste, to a fashionable drink trend”, commented Kishan Varsani, founder of Bubblebase, the very first Bubble Tea or ‘boba’ cafe to hit Wales.
The drink that combines both edible pearls packed with flavour and dairy or fruit-based tea has exploded in popularity in the UK following its introduction from south-east Asia. The movement is so huge, the market value of Bubble Tea is expected to grow from $2.4 billion in 2019 to a whopping $4.3 billion by 2027.
If you’re looking for a refreshing day drinking option to take-away whilst your friends put away the tinnies, then Bubble Tea is a healthy and flavoursome option which lasts the whole day.
What started as a common ‘feature menu’ during dry January, is now a common feature on any cocktail menu in the UK. Mocktails not only look and taste extremely similar to their alcohol filled derivatives, but they can often be a lot healthier above simply dropping the alcohol with fruit juices and herbs being used in force.
But by far the most exciting element of the mocktail trends is the creativity. Without a spirit forming a go-to base of a cocktail, mixologists are getting creative. Featured in Gordon Ramsay’s brand new TV show ‘Future Food Stars’, alcohol-free spirit brand Seedlip are at the centre of this creativity adding unique ingredients like artichoke and pea extracts to their unique blends.
Thatchers was one of the first brands to adopt the non-alcohol trend when they released their ‘Zero’ brand. The natural sweetness and fruit-base of cider makes it an alcohol-free alternative that tastes surprisingly like the real thing.
Similarly to mocktails, the alcohol-free cider alternative has sparked creative new integrations of cider into cocktails – and I know what you’re thinking; “cider in a cocktail!”. It’s a thing, and it tastes surprisingly good having now been adopted by even the largest cider brands.
Thatchers themselves have collaborated with La Maison Wellness, a mindful drinking platform to use their ‘Zero’ cider as a base for their alcohol free cocktail ‘Green heart’ which combines aloe vera juice, lime juice and cider to produce a sweet summer drink.
This popular spirit may well be the least surprising addition to this list, with gin forming the fastest growing alcohol drink market over the past 5 years thanks to its adoption by a larger and previously non-existent male market as well as diversification of flavours.
New brands like Luxlo are riding the pink-gin wave with their classy alcohol-free take on the popular summer time beverage. With fruit and botanicals playing a larger part in new gin, you’ll hardly notice the difference between the alcohol and alcohol-free version. Just as refreshing and just as versatile.
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