There’s plenty of reasons to avoid alcohol, ranging from health concerns to being the designated driver for the night. This isn’t news, but it is tending to be more and more common.
So what can you have instead? Good old tap-water is of course the best option, but nothing to get excited about, even if it has bubbles. Juice and juice spritzers have a bit more going for them, but don’t really tick all the boxes. Soft-drinks are popular, but not everyone is happy with them being on the dining table. Tea and coffee are healthy and can be complex and intriguing, but hardly something to pair to a juicy steak or ratatouille, nor does everyone want the caffeine in the evening. Maybe kombucha? Perhaps, but not for every taste or occasion.
For me, each of these alternatives are ok, but none quite tick all the boxes for what I’m looking for in an alternative to a drink in the evening after work, to pair with a meal, or to take to a dinner party – and I’m sure I’m not alone.
So what is it about beer, wine and spirits that we enjoy, anyway? I’m sure for many its a lot to do with the effect! But I for one love the complexity, maturity and diversity of flavours. There’s also the ceremony and the ambiance around them. Toasting with sparkling apple juice is nice enough, but still seems just a little.. flat, in this author’s humble opinion. And while there are plenty of naturally non-alcoholic beverages with a complex aroma, they’re not always suitable.
That’s the promise of dealcoholized drinks – the flavour and ceremony we enjoy, but without the alcohol that we want to avoid.
Alongside the absence of alcohol, dealcoholized drinks have other health benefits, too. Non-alcoholic beer is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B’s, calcium, selenium and zinc, among others. Also, non-alcoholic wines are touted to be a good source of anti-oxidants with their high content of polyphenols, for example. Both typically have less sugar than your standard soft-drink or juice. Speaking of which, apple juice can contain as much alcohol as a dealcoholized beverage, with as much as 0.38 % ABV allowed in Germany, and often having around 0.2 % ABV! This isn’t too say that we should avoid apple juice, but rather to put into perspective the amount of alcohol leftover in dealcoholized beverages (< 0.5 % ABV or < 0.05 % ABV).
No wonder the market for dealcoholized beer and wine is predicted to see a compound annual growth rate of 7 % in the next years, according to Fact.MR (https://www.factmr.com/report/4532/non-alcoholic-wine-market).
This is despite the fact that the quality of dealcoholized beverages, particularly wine, still doesn’t quite meet the expectations of many consumers. The ceremony is there and the alcohol not, but unfortunately the flavour is also missing-in-action. So, we believe that this growth rate could be even higher if producers started meeting expectations and making, for example, non-alcoholic wines that actually taste like the original (well, besides the lack of alcohol, of course). Read more here about how this can be achieved.
We think that dealcoholized drinks are going to continue seeing more and more interest. We also think that by improving the quality, this growth will become supercharged.