In case you haven’t heard, there’s a popular new craze sweeping the world: alcohol-free spirits. In response to a demand for inclusion for everyone, the range of non-alcoholic spirits has expanded dramatically over the last few years. Non-alcoholic alternatives for gin, rum, vermouth and whiskey are hitting the market, and gladly being welcomed into the conversation.
For instance, consider Seedlip: a non-alcoholic spirits brand started by Ben Branson in 2014. In an interview with Fast Company, Branson stated that he started Seedlip in connection with a need for contemporary, flavorful and alcohol-free beverages. Said Branson: “We’re in this world where we can cater for any allergies you’ve got, we can put people on the moon, we can do all these amazing things… But for whatever reason, why can you not get a good, grown-up non-alcoholic option?” Fortunately, Branson isn’t alone in his desire for adult, alcohol-free beverages.
In the U.K., for instance, one survey found that one in five millennials doesn’t drink, while 66% claim alcohol isn’t important to their social lives. According to the World Health Association, the number of drinkers globally has decreased by five percent since 2000, from 47.6% to 43.0%. Shapemagazine also states more people in their 20s and 30s are cutting back on their alcohol consumption. And Google reports that searches for “benefits of quitting drinking” have increased by nearly 70% within the last five years.
All of this lends itself nicely to the rise in an entirely new industry of non-alcoholic spirits. Even dry bars are starting to pop up around the place. The Upsider states: “With Millennials and Gen Z drinking less booze than the generations that came before them, many manufacturers, pubs and bars—including some of the world’s top establishments—are developing drinks with flavour, depth and sophistication to cater to them.” But why are people choosing to go alcohol-free?
There are plenty of reasons for a person to choose a non-alcoholic lifestyle. Whether it’s religious concerns, a season of life such as pregnancy or a desire to be healthier, people everywhere are transitioning away from drinking to more alcohol-free alternatives. For example, consider health reasons. There’s no doubt that alcohol has serious health side effects. According to James C. Garbutt, MD, professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine: “Alcohol does all kinds of things in the body, and we’re not fully aware of all of its effects… It’s a pretty complicated molecule.” Alcohol has been linked to various chronic illnesses, including—but not limited to—anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, high blood pressure and pancreatitis. Needless to say, alcohol poses a serious health risk for individuals.
However, there’s still something to be said about the cultural, social and societal norms surrounding alcohol consumption. Wellness enthusiasts aren’t hermits. While many individuals want to give up drinking alcohol, they don’t necessarily want to be excluded from the community and environments built upon it. They want to enjoy a relaxing adult beverage, without any religious, allergic or health concerns. As Ben Branson stated: “We’re not trying to stop people drinking alcohol—we love the world of alcohol… It shouldn’t matter whether you are drinking or not—you should be able to get a drink and have a great experience.”
Thus, the creation of non-alcoholic spirits fills the gap between these two seemingly incompatible worlds. They provide a much-needed alternative for adults who choose not to drink alcohol, yet still participate in the cultural sphere around them. For instance, Millennials might enjoy a crisp alcohol-free gin and tonic, while a Baby Boomer might love a glass of whiskey that doesn’t give them a headache the next morning. If someone is training for a race, a Seedlip could be a great choice after practice. Or, for someone who wants to try the no-drink challenge, non-alcoholic spirits can still be an option. No matter who you are or what stage of life you’re in, alcohol-free spirits are hitting the market to meet your needs.
The non-alcoholic spirits market is exploding, and for good reason. Alcohol-free drinks such as gin, rum, vermouth and whiskey bridge the divide for individuals who want to be a part of social interactions, but don’t want to consume alcohol. If you find yourself in this circumstance, try non-alcoholic spirits for yourself. See how you enjoy the same full flavors you love, without any concern for alcohol.