The growth of healthier lifestyles and self-care is driving opportunities in emerging better-for-you alcohol, no-proof and low-alcohol categories.
Australia’s alcohol consumption falling to a 50-year low (ABS, 2018). Cutting back on alcohol is part of a broader healthier lifestyle movement where consumers are either looking for the addition of functional ingredients (adaptogens, probiotics, CBD) or the omission of ingredients deemed less healthy (ie alcohol, carbs, preservatives, sugar).
The sober curious movement has been well-documented among millennials (the generation driving the $4.2 trillion dollar wellness market), but now it’s big business with the no-proof and low-alcohol space set to grow by about 39 per cent by 2022, according to an International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) Report.
Distill Ventures, a drinks-focused accelerator backed by Diageo, backs new and existing beverage brands, such as Seedlip first began tracking the growth of the no-proof drinks space in 2017.
See it in action
Zero-proof and low alcohol
Tasting just like their boozy brothers, Lyres Spirits has created the most extensive range of non and low alcoholic spirits – from absinthe to gin, orange sec and malts, they have everything to make the perfect no-proof cocktail. Brunswick Aces has created a range of non-alcohol but distilled Botanical Spirits that smell like gin, taste like gin, but won’t get you sloshed like gin.
Australia’s fastest growing drink and darling of the wellness world now has a naughty new cousin – enter alcoholic kombucha, a new better-for-you alcoholic beverage category that emerged in Australia last year. Pioneer companies include K.Booch Alcoholic Kombucha Co uses a second ferment to create four flavours of alcoholic kombuchas with 4 per cent BAV, and is promoted as a ‘Better for You Alcohol Choice’, with transparent labelling, lower ABV and lower sugar than your traditional RTDs or ciders. Naughty Booch claims to fuse flavour and fizziness with 4.6 per cent alcohol volume, while Lo Bros Kombucha’s Bootleg Booch launched late last year with 3.5 per cent alcohol.
Hemp terpines and functional ingredients
Hemp beer and gin emerged in Australia in late 2018 (see Young Henrys and East 9th Brewing for beer and Nonesuch Distillery, Great Southern Distilling Company and Hemp Gin for gin) but the next thing in functional beverages is hemp terpines.
Craft distiller Natural Distilling Co introduced its Limonene Hemp Gin and Myrcene Hemp Vodka in late 2019 and has since added rumand gin to the range.
The Cannabis Co launched the first Myrcene Gin into Australia in November 2018, following up in 2019 with its Jilungin Dreaming gin, featuring the terpene limonene and the native Australian ingredient jilungin. Food labelling laws forbid the use of health claims on the packaging of alcoholic drinks but the Cannabis Co explains its ingredients on its website:
- Myrcene is known as an anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-insomniatic, anti-proliferative, antipsychotic, and anti-spasmodic. Myrcene is perhaps the most highly-valued terpene due to its ability to ease symptoms of chronic pain and inflammation.
- Limonene is reputed to aid with anxiety, depression and provide stress relief, while digestive issues may be improved through limonene’s potent antibacterial and antifungal effects. It also boasts powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Jilungin has been demonstrated to contain over 30% more antioxidants than Green Tea, and Native Wild Lemongrass is comparable to aspirin in its effectiveness at treating headaches and inflammation. Juniper berries are valued for their anti-inflammatory properties, ideal for relieving pain due to rheumatism and arthritis.
New US company Critter Bitters has created cocktail bitters made from roasted crickets. Available in vanilla, cacao, toasted almond, and pure cricket Critter Bitters aim to take “the ick factor” out of entomophagy.
Herbal hang over cures
And if no or low alcohol isn’t your thing, Sunshine Coast company, Clever Water, has launched iRise, a blend of functional herbs, fruits, vitamins and electrolytes to help reduce the mental and physical side effects of alcohol.