The Rise of Non-Alcoholic 'Alcohols'
Jul 24, 2023
Consuming healthier food and drinks has been a popular dining trend since the long pandemic. It has pushed the public to become more aware of their well-being which has led the holistic food industry to put out more products such as plant-based meats and lactose-free dairy products. Though they aren’t new inventions, they are in higher demand compared to before. This year, the alcohol industry is paving way for non-alcoholic spirits to further promote sobriety and healthy dining/social experiences.
What are they and how are they produced?
Similar to plant-based meat, you cannot expect the beverage to taste exactly like beer or your favorite gin. Non-alcoholic spirits basically parallel the traditional ones like rum, whiskey, tequila, et cetera created to imitate the flavors of their counterpart as much as possible.
Usually, they are distilled the same way real alcohol would be distilled, but will have the alcohol contents removed instead—this is, of course, by using new manufacturing technologies.
However, there are direct alternatives to alcohol like botanical beverages meant to be used in both cocktails and mocktails. They contain plant-derived ingredients like flowers, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, teas, and spices. Typical methods include distillation as well, while some brands would use a process called compounding—where the ingredients are mixed with water. The concoction will result in unique flavors that consumers love to explore.
Non-alcoholic spirits open doors for more creative, unique creations
As of today, there are countless brands jumping on the bandwagon producing artisan versions of non-alcoholic spirits to enjoy in mocktails or straight on rocks.
Some brands are using cane sugar–similar to its counterpart–in the beverage while adding elaborate combinations such as green peppers, fig concentrate, dandelion, and oak tannin. Other brands also offer non-alcoholic spirits infused with mushrooms and natural melatonin to promote calmness and rest.
This surge in non-alcoholic ‘alcohols’ in the industry gives bartenders the opportunity to experiment with more exquisite flavors in their mocktails, while adventurous consumers explore other alternatives to healthy sobriety. Beer manufacturers are also putting themselves in the best position for success when they offer great-tasting beers with no/low alternatives.