From Diageo’s Seedlip to Pernod Ricard’s Ceder’s, it seems as though every major player now has a stake in the non-alcoholic spirit category. There’s certainly a consumer appetite for such products: according to UK online retailer Ocado, sales of non-alcoholic wine increased by 42% in 2018, while sales of no- and low-alcohol spirits and beers rose by a remarkable 87%.
The rapid growth of this burgeoning category has so far been lacking in product variety, with the majority of launches focused on white-spirit substitutes – specifically gin. And with most non-alcoholic spirits thus far crafted from the distillation of botanicals, that makes sense. But as the category grows and drinks makers look to achieve a point of difference over their rivals in an increasingly busy space, we can expect dark spirit substitutes to emerge. Indeed, Radius is aware that a number of major players are already experimenting to develop the perfect formula.
Why haven’t many come to market already? That’s all down to production methods: it is fundamentally much trickier to replicate the taste of products such as whisky and rum than their botanical white spirit counterparts. So, the question really is, who will be first to make a major splash?
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