In October, Scottish non-alc company Spirits of Virtue announced it had worked with Asda to supply four non-alcohol spirits, under the retailer’s Extra Special brand.
The range includes Extra Special non-alcoholic Botanical drink, Extra Special Rhubarb & Ginger Botanical drink, Extra Special Red Berries Botanical drink, and Dark Spiced non-alcoholic drink. All are priced at £10 per 70cl bottle, and will be available from mid-November.
Spirits of Virtue worked with Asda’s development team as well as industry consultant Angela Mount to make the products, in an effort to capitalise on the growing trend towards mindful drinking.
Debbie Mallinson-Dalby, product development manager, own brand BWS, at Asda, says customers are now making alternative choices when it comes to drinking socially.
“Providing them with a range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic spirit drinks creates choice without compromising on quality and flavour,” she says.
Indeed, the retailer reported almost 120,000 searches for ‘low and no’ in the first six months of 2023.
“We always listen to our customers, and they told us that our non-alcoholic spirit drinks needed to be better than the current flavour profiles in our range,” explains Mallinson-Dalby. “Working with our non-alcoholic spirits supplier, Spirits of Virtue, we reviewed each recipe of our liquids, re-developing the botanical blends featured in our gin style and Rhubarb and Ginger gin style whilst adding in extra provenance to the fruit ingredients included in the recipe.”
Mount says her brief from both Asda and Spirits of Virtue included reformulating the existing products and working on the development of two new styles.
“It’s been an exciting project to work on; the team at Spirit of Virtue and I worked closely on styles, over several months, with various options, alongside Asda, until we had the profile to suit Asda’s brief.”
She says the focus was on trying to match the flavour profile of the alcoholic equivalent, to produce “an authentic, enjoyable, grown-up, non-alcoholic version of someone’s favourite drink”.
The demand for low and no continues to grow. And while many studies suggest younger generations are cutting down their alcohol intake, a recent survey conducted by Censuswide research agency, in collaboration with alcohol-free wine brand Eisberg, found Gen X has a growing interest in mindful drinking, with around one third (36%) of respondents regarding themselves as ‘sober curious’.