Dear Curious Readers,
Spiritsfully is still busy investigating the no-low alcohol movement. This week we met (via a video call as there are not no much meetings going on our side of earth) with Katja and Isabella, who both live in Berlin and started a newsletter for the Berliner to discuss non alc adult beverages.
1. Can you tell us who you are?
We are Isabella & Katja both based in Berlin and we enjoy a good drink – or two. We are in our late 20s early 30s and come from different backgrounds. Isabella works in the field of PR and Communications and Katja in Business Development.
2. Why did you nüchtern.berlin? can you recall a particular moment it became necessary?
By reflecting and observing our own alcohol consumption we came upon on the question »What to drink when I am not drinking?« We noticed a void of non-alcoholic alternative which are an equal substitute. As we dived more into the subject we discovered that there were indeed brands and bars out there, which aim to fill this void. However, in case we did not have done the research, we would not have not known that. And this is the reason why we started nüchtern.berlin.
At the moment, we present on our website, via newsletter and Instagram non-alcoholic alternatives as well as creating a bar guide for berlin. The selective criteria for bar and product is being an equally sophisticated alcohol free option.
We cannot say that there was a particular moment, but we realized that our alcohol intake is something we should be more aware about. But this came with time, age and more knowledge about the subject. However, we still do drink alcohol and our goal is not demonize alcohol per se, yet we do want to emphasize the advantages of being sober (no matter for what time period you decide) and what you can drink if you decide to go sober.
3. Which products are you testing?
We are testing products, which we believe are an equal substitute for alcoholic products. Our criteria is to have two drinks next to each other – one with one without alcohol – and you should not be able to tell which is which.
4. What is your take on what is called « non alcoholic spirits »? (which definition do you have? which criteria to assess them? is this different than a non alc beer or wine?)
First of all we do differentiate between non-alc beer, wine, sparkling wine and spirits. For non-alcoholic wine and sparkling wine we noticed a difference in the manufacturing process. So on the one hand we have brands which create taste alike products, for example a sparkling wine producer using sparkling water together with an array of herbs, fruits and aromas. On the other side, you have manufacturers who produce "regular" sparkling wine and then dealcoholise the product.
For non-alcoholic spirits it is complex to find a definition. Concerning EU regulations a spirits must contain at least 15% ABV. There are no regulations or definitions (yet) for what constitute a non-alcoholic spirit. Most critics claim it's "water with a taste". Also, we believe the manufacturing process varies from brand to brand. So on the one hand you have got brands that use a distillation process to gain the plant aroma. On the other hand you have producers which seek to mimic with a mix of particular flavors without a distillation process.
In our opinion the difficulty of the manufacturing process is something you could use to differentiate non-alcoholic spirits.
Yet, what is important for us is that:
● it's not a softdrink
● it's a drink for adults, therefore in our opinion non-alcoholic drinks should have an age restriction as they do mimic an alcoholic beverage
However, this is an observation we have made so far yet but we have not drawn up a definition or particular criteria.
5. Did you notice changes, new micro-trends within the category?
The first micro-trend within this category we noticed was the difference between brands, which seek to mimic an alcoholic counterpart and brands who create their own "plant recipe" and which do not want to be seen as an non-alcoholic alternative.
Furthermore we believe that the trend will definitely will move towards creating non-alcoholic drinks with some sort of effect. This is achieved by using a particular range of plants or infusing with CBD or hemp - contingent upon the legal possibilities.
6. What would you wish for the non alcoholic distilled beverages category?
At the moment we are just curious on how the market will further develop and which products will be launched. However, as paying consumers as well we would wish for a more transparent manufacturing process and used ingredients. As prices for one bottle can go up to 30 EUR there is needs for more information available on how the product has been produced and to be quite frank, if it worths its price.
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