The brand currently offers two variants; Garden 108, which includes peas, spearmint and rosemary and Spice 94, which marries allspice, cardamom, oak, lemon and grapefruit. It will be hoped that this emphasis on flavour will separate the product from the negative perceptions that have existed concerning non-alcoholic versions of traditionally alcoholic drinks. Flavour has been a stumbling point for the development of non-alcoholic beers.
Established drinks companies have begun to take notice of the work of smaller operators. Diageo, the world’s largest producer of spirits, now owns a minority stake in the Seedlip brand through Distill Ventures. This represents the first time the company has invested in a non-alcoholic drink and it signals a rise in interest in a market which has international reach.
Stimulating demand is an increase in both the number of non-drinkers and those looking to cut down. The Office of National Statistics has shown that Britain’s number of teetotallers is higher than ever, with over 10m people abstaining from drink in 2016. Campaigns such as Dry January and Go Sober for October are also growing, with the former having an impressive 5m Britons take part in 2017. This movement presents an opportunity for ambitious companies like Seedlip to provide alternatives for those with existing habits who are looking to switch out their drink of choice for alcohol-free alternatives.
However, with young people less likely to have consumed alcohol than any other age group, there may be a barrier to future growth. To assure the product’s longevity, companies like Seedlip will not only have to convert the faithful, but also attract those who have not developed a taste for spirits. Another potential obstacle is acceptance in pubs, clubs and restaurants. While alcohol-free is fairly available in retail it is yet to be embraced behind the bar. Yet as drinking habits change, it may become increasingly visible in the years to come.