The products are there: Trendy Hotxon pop-up, The Zero Option, ‘popped-up’ this month with around 200 NoLo spirits on its shelves. The customer is there: One in five adults and one in four Millennials in the UK are teetotal. But why, at the end of a long week, is the name of a NoLo brand rarely on the tip of our tongue? NoLo options no longer leave a sugary aftertaste, so who are the brands that are riding this year’s biggest beverage trend?
Redemption Bar – "The world’s healthiest bar restaurant, serving up vegan, sugar-free and wheat free food with an alcohol-free bar"
Was Seedlip on your list? They pioneered the idea that NoLo, like veganism, is a craft that shouldn’t play second fiddle to its alcohol-induced siblings. Their drinks are high quality, sophisticated, innovative and craft focussed, making them not just an ‘alternative to’ drink, but a desirable category in themselves. In fact, they’ve expanded so far and wide that they‘ve been catalysed out of London into the vast expanse of Buckinghamshire.
Serious NoLo beverages are balancing their branding with the message the not-drinking isn’t not-fun. Hashtags like #MoreBeautifulWithout [Sea Arch] and slogans like ‘zero alcohol 100% taste’ [Borrago], ‘bringing drinkers and non-drinkers together’ [Punchy] and ‘all the spirit, non of the alcohol’ [Stryyk] are speaking up for teetotalism.
Where the brands have gone, restaurants and bars have followed. Luxury NoLo menus at 34 Mayfair, Sexy Fish and Hakkasan are anything but an afterthought. Collaborations like Sanderson’s’ with Mindful Chef and Juiceman to create a detoxing menu and Nobu’s with Seedlip are gaining popularity. Michelin-starred restaurants like The Clove Club are starting to offer soft pairings and even ambient tea pairings as an alternative to their traditional wine flights. Meanwhile Redemption Bar leads the alcohol- free hangout charge.
But there’s a little way to go and plenty of room for new frontrunners. NoLo companies have a whole new tradition to carve out, their own compelling narratives to tell. So, which brand will tell it best?