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International brands stories: Is mindful drinking a global phenomenon?

International drinks

We’ve got some fabulous international alcohol-free brands launching their products in the UK now. Are we ahead over here in the UK, or is this movement global? We spoke to four of the international brands who will be at our Mindful Drinking Festival this Saturday, 28th July, to find out:

Remedy Kombucha – Angie Turner

1) You recently launched your Kombucha, Remedy, in the UK after launching in Australia six years ago, what are the key differences you’ve noticed between Australia and the UK with regards to the launch? 

 Remedy officially launched in Australia in 2012, after co-founders Sarah and Emmet Condon had been making kombucha and other fermented foods and drinks at home for a number of years.They wanted to do something good. Shake things up. They knew that healthy could also be tasty and easy. When choosing to expand into the UK, we saw more similarities than differences. In particular, the market conditions. When launched into the UK, awareness of the drink was fairly low with only a few small producers operating in the market. This was very similar to what it was like when we launched in Australia.

There are also obviously a lot of cultural similarities between the two markets, especially since there are so many Aussie expats in the UK and vice versa! I think consumers are similar between the two markets. They are keen to improve their health, and keenly aware of the importance of gut health and the dangers of too much sugar.

2) The increase in the production of alcohol-free drinks and brands has increased significantly in the UK since our first festival last summer, can the same be said for Aus?

Absolutely. In particular, the market for supposedly “healthier” non-alcoholic drinks has increased significantly, with the growth of the kombucha category playing a huge role.

3) What do you think are the main reasons for this growth and what changes have you noticed in the “mindful drinking” scene both here and in Australia over the last couple of years?

Being interested in health and wellness, including issues like mindfulness, is no longer considered niche, but really quite mainstream.

We believe two key factors have contributed to people being much more mindful of what they put into their bodies.

The first factor is increasing awareness about the importance of gut health. There is so much amazing research being conducted in this space and it’s really resonating with people that their gut can have a huge impact on their overall wellbeing, including their mental health. The second factor is people giving sugar the flick. The evidence is clear that too much sugar in our diets is damaging our health.

4) We’ve recently been campaigning to change the labelling of alcohol-free drinks, to allow those that are between 0.05% ABV and 0.5% ABV to be categorised as “alcohol-free” instead of “low alcohol” – what are the guidelines in Aus on this? 

It varies from state to state, but overall, our regulations do allow for non-alcoholic drinks to contain trace amounts of alcohol like you find in naturally fermented drinks. The Australia Food Standards Code sets a limit of 1.15% for soft drinks, however local regulations in Victoria and Queensland set the limit at 0.5% limit. It is not mandatory to label trace amounts under these limits either. Drinks containing trace amounts under these levels will not have an intoxicating effect.

We test every batch to ensure any alcohol content is below 0.5%. We also brew out all of the sugar which means there is no risk of re-fermentation in the bottle. The fact that we have received Halal certification in Australia reinforces that trace amounts of alcohol are not an issue.

5) Where would you like to see your brand in a further 2 years, and what do you think is needed to get you there?

We’d love to be well on our way to being a household name in Australia, New Zealand and the UK, as well as expanding into new markets. Given awareness of kombucha is still relatively low and there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions around, we know that we have a huge role to play in general education about kombucha, combined with why Remedy is the best choice.

The Duchess – Inus Smuts 

1) You’ve recently launched your new alcohol-free G&T, Duchess, in the UK after launching in South Africa in 2016 – what are the key differences you’ve noticed between SA and here with regards to the launch?

The acceptance of the brand has been as enthusiastic as with South Africa and it was all about having the same brand authenticity that we have in South Africa. I am now traveling to the UK more often to ensure that the brand and product has the founder-led approach that we applied in South Africa.

2) The increase in the production of alcohol-free drinks and brands has increased significantly in the UK since our first festival last summer, can the same be said for South Africa? 

Certainly. I think the non-alcoholic category is seeing a massive increase globally as consumers become more educated on health and wellness. Consumers now demand more complex, non-alcoholic adult drinks and they have the full right to this. We are constantly innovating and building our range to accommodate for this consumer demand.

3) What do you think are the main reasons for this growth and what changes have you noticed in the “mindful drinking” scene both here and in South Africa since you first launched?

I think the stigma that alcohol is a necessity in a social setting has dramatically changed in the last few years. Consumers are valuing the quality of their experiences in different ways that does not include the amount of alcohol that you consume. It is no longer frowned upon to go dry or to limit alcohol intake.

4) We’ve recently been campaigning to change the labelling of alcohol-free drinks, to allow those in the UK that are between 0.05% ABV and 0.5% ABV to be categorised as “alcohol-free” instead of “low alcohol” – what are the guidelines in South Africa on this? 

South Africa actually works on the same guidelines as the EU. (0.5% can be labelled as alcohol-free)

5) Where would you like to see your brand in 2 years, and what do you think is needed to get you there?

Our vision is to supply mindful consumers with innovative non-alcoholic beverages that will disrupt the traditional alcohol & soft drink industry, as the market becomes more sober curious. With this we would like to expand from the UK, Belgium and Netherlands to other countries and turn The Duchess into a global beacon for well crafted adult drinks. For this, we will certainly need to keep innovating and ensure that our brand stays relevant to our consumers in every way. These are also the parts that we enjoy most so watch this space.

Memento – Eugenio Muraro

1) You’ve recently launched your new alcohol-free “spirit”, Memento, in the UK after launching in Italy last year- what are the key differences you’ve noticed between Italy and the UK with regards to the launch?
English market seems to be more ready to accept this kind of products than Italian market. I think that this is due to the presence of other similar products that started the business for this category in the last years. By the way Great Britain and in particular London are always first movers in tendencies as it has been in the past for example for music, cultural movements and lifestyles,  leading changes all over the world. The same has happened for distillates and other kind of beverages so it has been for non-alcoholic spirits. In Italy apart some avant-gardes we’re still linked to traditional products and the add-value of this type of proposition in not yet  understood.
2) The increase in the production of alcohol-free drinks and brands has increased significantly in the UK since our first festival last summer, can the same be said for Italy?
We’re the only one non-alcoholic Italian spirit. All around it seems that more beer and wine producers are developing products but the market is moving slow in my opinion. For the most they try to produce in order to sell to Middle East countries, but not so much for internal market. Stereotypes are very strong and for Italians thinking about a non alcoholic wine still seems to be in some ways sacrilegious.
3) What do you think are the main reasons for this growth and what changes have you noticed in the “mindful drinking” scene both here and in Italy in the last couple of years?
The main driver that have pushed this kind of drinks is related to healthy lifestyle and wellness.
In general, there is a trend signal that rewards producers efforts to propose an offer with better quality
ingredients, with greater choice and growing attention to the needs of the natural and well-being.
The innovative trends in the beverage sector are characterized by innovative high quality and natural
products, not dictated by the big volumes, but destined for a very careful and aware consumer choice.
Health, quality, but also rediscovery of the tastes of the territory. In the market, there is an increasing
interest for artisan and local products. At this time, the concern towards well-being and the whole
sector of the biological can give great opportunities for the country.
4) We’ve recently been campaigning to change the labelling of alcohol-free drinks, to allow those in the UK that are between 0.05% ABV and 0.5% ABV to be categorised as “alcohol-free” instead of “low alcohol” – what are the guidelines in Italy on this? 
I think that in Italy it’s the same as in Europe Community. Regarding us, MeMento it’s 0,0% alcohol and alcohol doesn’t appear in any phase of production so we’re not directly involved in this debate.
5) Where would you like to see your brand in 2 years, and what do you think is needed to get you there? 
My dream as entrepreneur is that MeMento can grow as fast as possible and that we can hire more and more people working together with us. Bottles have been sent to USA, Japan, UAE and Australia, but we don’t have a structured distribution in Europe and all over the world. We’ve some partners, stockists, e-commerce platforms working with us, and we’d like to increase our network and find new stakeholders willing to believe in our mission and engaged to collaborate with us.
In order to increase the presence of MeMento I believe that our focus will be maintaining an extremely high standard that includes product quality and packaging, but also services as customer support and shipments.

Be Mocktails – Conchita Daniël

1) You’re launching your line of alcohol-free cocktails, BeMocktails, at our Mindful Drinking Festival after launching in the Netherlands a few months ago – what are the key differences you’ve noticed between the Netherlands and the UK with regards to the launch? And what was the inspiration behind the creation of the brand?

The mocktails were launched may 2018 in the Netherlands. I haven’t noticed a diffrence yet because the mocktails aren’t launched in the UK yet. But I heard from many entrepreneurs that launching in the UK is easier than in the Netherland, Dutch people are a bit wary about embracing a new product. But I’m going to find out soon.

The reason why I started BeMocktails is that I was looking for a drink that is healthy but also festive, glamorous and vegan. And drinking alcohol affects me strongly so I didn’t want a drink with alcohol. Actually, I was on my way to London when I read a story about mocktails in an Easyet Magazine so that’s where I got the idea of mocktails.

2) The increase in the production of alcohol-free drinks and brands has increased significantly in the UK since our first festival last summer, can the same be said for The Netherlands? 

It’s increasing slowly in the Netherlands, not as fast as in the UK.

3) What do you think are the main reasons for this growth and what changes have you noticed in the “mindful drinking” scene both here and in the Netherlands over the last couple of years?

The main reason is because people are more conscious about their health and the main change I’ve noticed is that it’s more accepted that not everyone drinks alcohol when you go out. The group of consumers that’s not drinking alcohol because of religious reasons is also growing, that’s why our mocktails are vegan and halal.

4) We’ve recently been campaigning to change the labelling of alcohol-free drinks, to allow those in the UK that are between 0.05% ABV and 0.5% ABV to be categorised as “alcohol-free” instead of “low alcohol” – what are the guidelines in the Netherlands on this? 

Netherland follows guidelines which says that you have to mention the alcohol if the volume in the drink is above 1.2% there is no campaign yet to change this

5) Where would you like to see your brand in a further 2 years, and what do you think is needed to get you there?

I would love it if Be was sold in the whole world and that people would buy it because it’s sweet and glamorous but also were conscious about the health benefits it has. The names of the flavours Be Beautiful, Be Grateful and Be Alive were also chosen to make people more aware of life and themselves.


Quitting or cutting down on alcohol, or looking for options to satisfy that sweet tooth but without all the sugar? Come to our Mindful Drinking Festival on Saturday 28th July 2018 from 11 am to 6 pm at Spitalfields Market in London, to try some incredible alcohol-free drinks brands including craft sodas, tonics, botanicals, ‘spirits”, kombuchas, shrubs, beers, wines, ciders, and cocktails. And it’s FREE entry! Head here for details: https://mindfuldrinkingfestival.com/

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Social Media Witch. Moderate drinker. Metal chick.

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