And alcohol free too. Well, you’ll be pleased to hear you can have it all.
There is a growing choice of great alcohol free drinks that meet your dietary needs, if you know where to look.
You are part of market that’s exploding and starting to really matter to drinks makers, from craft brewers to bigger brands.
The number of vegans in Great Britain quadrupled between 2014 and 2019, to 600,000* and many more of us are taking a flexitarian approach. We want to avoid animal derived products (and the cruelty that goes with them) and think plant-based to protect the environment, in what we drink as well as what we eat.
Meanwhile, about 1 in 10 people in the UK avoid gluten, including those with coeliac disease, an auto immune disease which causes gluten to damage the gut. There are also many people who suffer from gluten sensitivity or intolerance.
As the free from movement seems to have firmly embedded itself into the mainstream drinks industry, Dry Drinker finds out about the producer of Holly GoLightly 0.5% Low Alcohol Cider.
You might be forgiven for not immediately recognising the brand name as it would seem that Celtic Marches had been one of Herefordshire’s best kept secrets. Nestled in a quiet corner of Herefordshire, a county renowned for its cider production, this single-estate apple cider producer has been milling away peacefully for over 100 years.
Wyer Croft is home to Celtic Marches. With 200 acres of cider apple orchards, developed over seven generations, they are a self-sustaining craft cider firm producing up to 3 million litres a year. The luscious lined orchards are filled with eight cider tree varieties. Each chosen for their growth and taste profiles. These are blended to create their international award-winning ciders.
This rare position is a result of over 100 years and numerous generations that have dedicated themselves to the orchards and hop fields. This allows for full control over cider production from tree to glass. Production miles are low, with both the growth and production based on the family farm. Celtic Marches’ sister company, Marches Bottling and Packaging is less than 5 miles away, maintaining their aim to reduce the production impact on the environment.
The bold, strong female branding stands out from the norm and is reflective of the women behind this slick operation. With large scale production abilities, the female majority team has been selected by Director, Susan Vaughan for their skills, passion for quality and consistent drive for a premium craft cider. Shaking off the traditional approach to cider branding, each of the core range has a woman’s name, all with a different character and taste. The female strength of the company and it’s branding is a far cry from what the cider industry has been used to.
Offering a mix of packaging, from bottles to BIBs, kegs to cans; the strong range of ciders caters for a diverse market. Their ability to follow market trends is not compromising and maintaining traditional values and respect for our provenance will always be core.
So why the release of a low alcohol cider?
The craft cider market and the growth of low and no alcohol options looks set to continue. Figures from Dry January participation show a clear trend that the UK population drinking habits are changing. With around 4000 participants in 2013, the increase to over 4 million in 2018 was incredible.
Our consumer habits have changed swiftly over the last decade. Younger generations are more educated in nutrition and a healthier lifestyle. The percentage of 16-24 year old non drinkers has increased, binge drinking figures have fallen and those choosing to live an alcohol-free life have risen. All of these trends indicate a long term social change.
Consumers are seeking high quality alternative drink options. Support for local produce is rising and local economies are boosted as we are more willing to pay a higher price for a premium product, often in smaller volumes and lower ABVs. We are more knowledgeable on the creation of the product from the initial ingredients, the processing, right down to the brand’s ethos. We look beyond the impulse purchase and appreciate the provenance of produce. Enlightened by the knowledge, we are opting away from the cheap concentrate white ciders and reaching for a natural, authentic option. Craft does not exclude no and low alcohol options. When time, care and skill are combined, the result can be equal to the higher ABV products.
Bigger brands have already tapped into the craft market, many buying up smaller producers to front a craft campaign. They are no longer resting on their laurels of their commercial presence. Consumers are demanding more natural products, less processed drinks and better qualities, often achieved by smaller batch production. With the low and no alcohol growth set to continue steadily, there will be a corresponding increase in offerings from big alcohol brands to try and fill the market.
Celtic Marches are one of the UK’s largest independent craft cider producers. Having launched Holly GoLightly successfully this year, they have extended the range to include a 330ml can. It is a 0.5% ABV cider, made using cider apples from their Herefordshire Farm. Their cider ticks all the current market trends and consumer desires; low alcohol, sustainable, traceability, gluten free, vegan whilst still retaining quality. As a self-sustaining single estate cider producer with 200 acres of cider apple orchards, they have the ability to move effortlessly with the changing market trends. The latest addition of a low alcohol cider in a can will only firm their standing in the low and no alcohol market.
Celtic Marches full range is gluten free and suitable for vegans.
Thinking about doing Dry January 2019? Maybe I can help you decide. I ‘did’ Dry January 2018 and drank a lot less booze this year as a result. Averaged out, my drinking days went from 4 times a week to 1 or 2. So, I spent about £500 less on drinking at home. (That’s haircuts for the year paid for, or maybe a trip away).
Dry January is the UK’s one-month booze-free challenge. Sign up. Save money. Feel great and reset your relationship with alcohol. Or you can take on Dryathlon and quit the booze to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
What I learnt 1: you don’t need to drink to survive social events
That it was fine for me not to drink at social events. I’m an introvert nervous drinker who can get accidentally sozzled in the process of finding the courage to talk to people. A few events during Dry January made me realise that I felt better and had more to say when I wasn’t drinking – I wasn’t scared of ‘overdoing it’ and getting drunk.
If going out, I planned ahead to see what alcohol free options were available. Anywhere that sells cocktails should make you an alcohol free version, even if it isn’t on the menu.
I’d get alcohol free supplies in from Dry Drinker to drink at home and to take to friends or family parties or dinners.
‘I can’t have fun without booze’ is a myth. More than 10 million adults in the UK manage it.
Benefits of alcohol free drinks
They help you to:
remember conversations and people
go home when you’ve had enough
make conscious decisions about what you spend and eat
avoid the beer (or wine) goggles (and the toe-curling consequences)
get up in the morning feeling human
stick to fitness goals
And they taste nice! See below
Of course, alcohol free means you get don’t get inebriated, drunk, trollied, tipsy, wrecked, wasted, p*ssed-up, hammered. That’s the main difference: alcohol free doesn’t affect how your brain works. You don’t get hangovers, forget what happened in every episode of your Scandi noir drama, burst into tears, feel sick, be sick, fall over, stuff your face with junk food, tell everyone you love them, start arguments, embarrass the hell out of your kids, talk gibberish and spend a fortune you haven’t got. And no walk of shame.
What I learnt 2: the health stuff
I must mention health. The less I drink, the more healthy I feel. Better skin, more sleep, and all the bits we can’t see so try to forget about. My dad drank too much alcohol. He couldn’t stop, struggled to moderate and died of mouth cancer aged 52. That’s why I think about it. Alcohol harms and lots of us know that. It causes physical and emotional pain. There is lots of info online: DrinkAware, NHS, and Alcohol Change UK* — the charity behind Dry January — are good places to start. Check out the fact sheets for easy-read evidence to help you decide about Dry January.
What I learnt 3: alcohol free beers ARE a great alternative
‘Toy beer’ (as it’s known at home) is darn tasty. I’m not keen on sweet fizzy drinks or fruit juice, so alcohol free beers offer a satisfying edge of bitterness, complexity, and none of that artificial sweetener ‘finish’. And they are low calorie – often coming in at less than 50 cals per drink.
Alcohol free beer is not all ‘rubbish’. That would suggest it’s all piped from the same big vat, which obviously it isn’t.
Though you might be used to seeing two or three brands of lager in supermarkets, the real choice is huge (if you shop at Dry Drinker):
From the UK (north, south, Scotland, west country) or the USA, across Europe, including Spain, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, (all places where you can expect to get alcohol free on tap) and further east into Russia
Made by micro breweries, craft breweries, or larger set ups that have been brewing for HUNDREDS of years for customers who demand consistent excellence
The process and the ingredients are the same as the full-strength versions: the only thing that is different is the alcohol.
I write the words for Dry Drinker and so I have checked the many and varied background stories for every product they stock.
One thing in common? Brewers, vintners, distillers and drinks entrepreneurs large and small, want to make drinks that you will enjoy, which will bring pleasure to your meals, occasions and simple relaxation. They are aiming for gold medals in competition against full-strength competitors, not second best.
And take it from some Dry Drinker customers who left 5-star comments on Trusted Shops this month and last month:
‘Took the recommendation from DryDrinker and ordered a case of the No1 German beer. This is the best I have tasted plus the order and delivery were executed excellently.
‘Quick and efficient. Unrivalled variety of beers’
‘A great selection of beers. I’m enjoying the alcohol free Cuba Libra & saving the Fizz til closer to Christmas’
‘Loved the Botonique – distinct aroma, lovely sparkling wine’
‘On all counts – can’t be faulted. Brilliant service, brilliant product … Whole new world.’
‘Fabulous experience … when you taste them they are worth every penny. No more feeling left out standing at your party with a glass of water. The drinks are adult and sophisticated and the selection is so broad that there is something for everyone.’
Good luck with your Dry January or Dryathlon 2019! Give it a go. What have you got to lose?
Get ready: you can pre-register now. And why not stock up with Dry Drinker at the same time? It’s the UK’s largest independent alcohol free specialist.
*Alcohol Change is the new charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK. I like their funky new website and their values: Truthful, Compassionate and Ambitious for change).
Dry Drinker Ltd is proud to announce that it will be running, what we believe is, the first ever beer judging in the UK solely for drinks with an ABV of 0.5% or lower. This innovatory event is taking place on 29th November 2018.
We now stock over 100 different beers and lagers and we are often asked for recommendations. To help, we have selected our best-selling customer favourites and some of our new to market discoveries for judging by an independent panel of brewers and industry experts. The Dry Drinker Cheers Awards have 50 drinks in 7 judging categories.
Our panel includes:
Representatives from Castle Rock Brewery, the multiple award-winning brewery and former champion Beer of Britain brewer,
Representatives of Everard’s Brewery, a Publican Awards Winner
The former Director of Brewing and Brands at a major UK Brewery
One of the few female qualified Beer Sommeliers in the UK
A representative of the Parliamentary Beer Club
A Brewery owner
The retired Head of Quality Assurance at one of the UK’s biggest breweries
We are really looking forward to this exciting, prestigious event and will keep you posted on the winners. Keep your eyes out for our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages for more news!
Dry Drinker’s Stuart Elkington meets Jess Hook, the woman behind stunning alcohol free Outfox wines.
Can you tell us your story?
I’ve always been interested in the drinks market, especially wine. I love the social element of drinking plus all the rituals – pouring a glass of wine after a long day at work, sharing a bottle, having a glass while cooking – but quite often I don’t want the alcohol.
This started my journey trying to find something that could replace all the elements I love about drinking, but without the alcohol.
I had to get fit quick and so cut all alcohol for 6 months while training
During this time, I got a place in the Marathon des Sables (a foot race across the Sahara). Not being a runner (at all!) I had to get fit quick and so cut all alcohol for 6 months while training.
This time showed just how much of my social life was centred around meeting friends in bars and just how rubbish the drinks options were (plus how uncomfortable others can be around you when you’re not drinking.)
I’m really proud of the products
It really cemented it for me: better options should be readily available.
It’s been more than 2 and a half years developing Outfox and getting it to market but I’m really proud of the products. And I’ve got so many ideas for the next ones coming through!
What is your company’s vision?
I created Outfox to help make dry drinking better. Drinks that taste great, and that don’t feel like the soft option. It was very important to me that while the drinks weren’t sweet and didn’t have lots of sugar or calories, they kept the ingrained rituals of drinking.
Hopefully we can help change the way people view drinking
Our ambition for the brand is to have products in multiple categories widely available both across trade and retail. Hopefully we can help change the way people view drinking, and their opinions on alcohol free options!
Why is it important to have non alcoholic drinks like Outfox on offer?
20% of people in the UK don’t drink and of those that do, more than half are trying to reduce their consumption.
So, attitudes around drinking are changing. People want to stop or regulate their drinking for lots of reasons – there’s been lots in the news about the effects of alcohol, and I think we’re going to see more news over the coming years.
We want the associated emotional benefits of drinking
But for a lot of people, this decision to moderate is really difficult because drinking is ingrained in their lives. A glass of champagne to celebrate, beers with the game, sharing a bottle of wine with friends to catch up … we want the associated emotional benefits. In these situations, a diet cola or glass of water feels a long way from what we’re after.
Outfox is a credible substitute to that glass of wine
With Outfox, it was important to me that we made drinks that could replicate these rituals and keep some of the positive elements of drinking. Outfox is a credible substitute to that glass of wine, be it when you’re not drinking at all or trying to reduce the amount you’re drinking that night.
What can our customers expect from Outfox?
Our drinks are always created with 3 core principles:
Always under 0.5% ABV (‘alcohol free’ – our first products are less than 0.1% ABV, so are similar to a kombucha or orange juice)
Always low in calories and sugar (with quarter the calories of wine and half the sugar of tonic)
Never feel like the soft option
Your motto for life?
Fortune favours the brave
Quick fire round
Favourite food? … Sushi
Last holiday destination? … Las Vegas
Last book?… Anything that promises to tell me how to run a business!!
Last film? … Beast – not light watching!
Cats or dogs?… Dogs – I have 2 spaniels that come into the office every day
Curry or fish and chips?… Can I have both?
Wine or beer?… Wine
You have a magic power for one day – what would it be and why?
To create more hours in a day so I can get more done!
Where will you be in 5 year’s time?
Still running around like a crazy person but hopefully with Outfox having moved into multiple categories and selling internationally.
You want to Go Sober this October and help Macmillan make a real difference to the lives of people facing cancer.
And maybe you’re visiting Dry Drinker to get help with this awesome adventure? You want to be a Soberhero but the thought of 31 days of #herbal tea #sparkling water #fruit juice seems a bit …. scary?
Well, Dry Drinker has loads of alcohol free sidekicks to help you raise money for Macmillan Cancer.
Have a plan
Breaking a regular habit like social drinking for a month is not easy for most people – it can be surprisingly tricky! But it IS possible and there are ways to help yourself succeed. Planning what to drink instead of your usual alcoholic tipple and having it ready to pour is a great way to tackle cravings.
At Dry Drinker we’re experts at finding alcohol free drinks that offer grown-up taste, real flavour and the complexity you’d want from an alcoholic drink. We taste test everything before it goes in the UK’s most trusted alcohol free store.
Of course, it won’t be the ‘same’ as an alcoholic drink – umm, there isn’t any alcohol and you won’t get tipsy – but you will be amazed at how satisfying and tasty alcohol free can be.
Find your favourites
Dry Drinker offers a huge choice. Carefully sourced. Safely delivered. No one needs to be left out when it comes to non alcoholic drinks.
There are alcohol free craft beers, wheat beers, stouts and porters from some very clever brewers in the UK and Europe. And loads of superb alcohol free lagers. All made with just water, hops, malt and yeast. Give yourself a treat and order the Go Sober for October box
If you love to raise a toast and celebrate, be assured that alcohol free bubbles are not just fizzy grape juice. Alcohol-free wine making is a serious business, not an afterthought, for winemakers like Torres, Vintense and Ariel. They use the best grapes, ideal growing conditions and modern processes to craft Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah Rosé, Merlot, Chardonnay, ready for your tasting notes!
Or sit back with ice, a slice, and one of the growing number of distilled botanicals on the alcohol free market. They’re very low, or no, calorie too.
How Go Sober for October helps you
increase energy levels
wake up without hangovers
look and feel brighter
have a clearer view of how much you drink, how often and why
And you can raise money to support people facing cancer. You superhero.
How Go Sober for October helps others
With your help Macmillian can be there for even more people from the moment of their cancer diagnosis, to give practical, emotional and genuinely personal support through cancer, from help with money worries to be there when they need to talk.
Services include Macmillan nurses, social workers and family teams, grants to help people pay for transport to hospital, phone service to help people claim the benefits they are entitled to.
Go Sober for October is a fundraising campaign aimed at challenging social drinkers to change their habits for a month and make some healthy lifestyle changes. We advise heavy drinkers or people dependent on alcohol to speak with their GP before signing up to Go Sober.
So, what’s your gift for Dad going to be? Comedy slippers, ‘man’ apron, retro beard kit or ‘I love ewe Dad’ woolly socks?
Ok, it’s tricky. Dads (men in general) can be hard to buy for. They know what they want, and they want to buy it for themselves.
Booze is pushed as a default Father’s Day gift option. (Think cards with frothing tankards of beer, along with the golf clubs, cars and football.) ‘That’ll do’ you think. ‘Whatever he thinks of it, he’ll drink it …’
Alcohol not an option
Well, the real ale collection, Port in a wooden box, or whiskey miniatures collection might be off the list for your dad. There’s loads of reasons why he’s a Dry Drinker, or wants to be:
Perhaps alcohol doesn’t fit with medication he’s currently taking, or it makes his health condition feel worse.
Maybe (like Dry Drinker boss Stuart) he doesn’t want to be ‘fat and 40’ and has cut out alcohol to lose weight.
Or he’s being super self-disciplined training for an event – and deserves a treat
He might want to be alcohol free, because he doesn’t enjoy how it makes him feel. He could be a bit fed up with boozy gifts. Just doesn’t get round to saying it.
6 cans of Innis and None, a delicious citrus pale ale from Scottish brewers Innis & Gunn. Big hop bitterness, balanced with a touch of sweetness and the added goodness of ginseng and vitamin C.
6 bottles of St Peter’s Without Gold, a golden craft beer from St Peter’s Brewery. It appeals to keen ale drinkers who love a good, full-bodied golden ale and lager drinkers looking for a delicious alcohol free beer.
All delivered to his home in a nice, sturdy box.
Your message to Dad
And you can also write a message to your Dad when you order. This will be printed and placed in his beer box. (Optional. With Father’s Day Gift Case only).
Let your Dad choose the non alcoholic treat they want from the huge Dry Drinker range of alcohol-free beers – the UK’s largest – and ciders, wine and spirits.
They don’t have to spend the Gift Certificate all at once.
A grandad or a new dad, the Dad you’re buying for deserves a thoughtful thank you – and he deserves alcohol free drinks that offer grown-up tastes, made with the same care, skill and ingredients as alcoholic beers, wines and spirits.
I’m sure you can find a Father’s Day themed bottle opener somewhere …
It was named Best Adult Drink and Best New Drink Concept at the Zenith Innobev Awards*, beating strong international competition.
Like Dry Drinker, the judges must have loved the tonic carefully infused with botanical extracts – orange peel, all spice, star anise, clove, cardamom – blended with re-distilled juniper berries.
And The Duchess is barely a year old. Founders Johannes le Roux and Inus Smuts were thrilled by their win, Johannes saying: ‘We are so pleased that, shortly after a year of launching, The Duchess is already surpassing our expectations.’
Dry Drinker founder Stuart Elkington said: ‘Well done Duchess! This is deserved recognition of a drink that I knew I had to stock as soon as I’d tasted it. And it’s great to see a small independent business win over larger more established brands.’
Big Drop in final
Dry Drinker likes to back – and stock – winners, and so they’re also excited about the success of Big Drop.
Big Drop – the UK’s first brewing company to exclusively make <0.5% ABV beer, and stocked by Dry Drinker – has been shortlisted in the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2018. It’s 1 of 3 finalists in the Best Drinks Producer category and the only one that produces alcohol free drinks.
Big Drop are on a winning streak – Big Drop Pale Ale was Style Winner in the World Beer Awards 2017, while its Stout won Silver in the same awards and Gold in the International Beer Challenge.
Tempted to try a collection of alcohol free sparkling wines and low alcohol wines? Stocking up for a special occasion or looking for a baby shower gift?
Choose from a trio of sparkling rosés, a red, white and rosé wine mix, Prosecco, and our Premium sparkling white collection.
You certainly don’t need alcohol to find fizz that bubbles with taste and sophistication. Be it Prosecco, brut, blanc or rosé, it’s all about drinking pleasure when you buy from Dry Drinker. Only wines that we’ve tasted and enjoyed make it into the shop. We’d recommend them to our friends.
Of course you deserve more than fizzy water when everyone else is toasting with Champagne. Alcohol free sparkling wine makes you part of the party, while staying alcohol free.
And be assured, we source from producers dedicated to making alcohol free wine to enjoy in its own right. Traditional methods are paired with new technology to offer a great drinking experience. You deserve the best.
Scavi & Ray
Scavi & Ray produce an award-winning Prosecco and use the same Glera grape in their aromatic non alcoholic version
Wine house MRG has worked with Champagne expert Richard Juhlin to create two premium sparkling wines. It’s Morouj brand also offers a sparkling white and sparkling rose.
Torres non alcoholic wines, at 0.05% ABV, will keep everyone happy at the dinner table. This is a family-run business with more than 150 years winemaking experience, blending tradition with innovation to produce quality wines across the globe.
Bees Knees Alcohol Free sparkling wine and sparkling rosé are a finely balanced combination of sparkling grape juice and premium tea infusion. And all with lots of lovely bubbles.
Dry January might be making you realise you don’t crave ‘alcohol’ – you crave your favourite drinks. They might suit your mood, time of day, or the occasion. When water or soft drinks won’t cut it, don’t worry. As Dry January’s official online partner, Dry Drinker has got seven alcohol-free options to fit your fancies and help you stick with Dry January, whatever the occasion.
1) CRAVING CRAFT?
Hoppy? Malty? Citrus notes? You enjoy savouring interesting, complex brews. And yes, you can get them alcohol-free, thanks to clever craft brewers in the UK and Europe. Some, like inventive UK entrepreneurs at Nirvana and Big Drop only brew alcohol-free, and each have four great beers to choose from. Others have added to their range – like St Peter’s Brewery with the malty joy of St Peters Without, Without Gold, and Without Organic, and BrewDog with its super-hopped Nanny State. Get exploring!
2) WISHING FOR WHEAT BEER?
You love the unique refreshment of a chilled wheat beer. Well, smile, because Weisse really works alcohol-free. Especially if you drink it ice cold and let it breathe for a minute or two. Mmm. Traditional German wheat beer breweries, such as Erdinger, Paulaner, Maisel’s and Schneider, have used masses of brewing experience to add alcohol-free to their ranges. And forget energy drinks – alcohol-free wheat beer is the ideal low-calorie isotonic after exercise.
3) LUSTING AFTER LAGER?
You like to relax with a lighter lager. There are many more alcohol-free brands out there than you might see in the pub. Europe is way ahead of the UK when it comes to easy drinking alcohol-free. For example, Spain has got it sussed – try a taste of the Med from Moritz and Estrella Galicia. Big names like Budweiser Prohibition Brew and Heineken 0 are also on the case. And if you want a punchy lager with US hops try Pistonhead Flat Tire. Yes, it is non-alcoholic!
4) FANCY FIZZ?
You love to raise a toast and celebrate but sparkling mineral water doesn’t quite cut it. Well, alcohol-free bubbles are not just fizzy grape juice. Scavi & Ray’s alcohol-free prosecco is made with the same grapes as the ‘real’ stuff and the aroma alone says ‘cheers’! Bees Knees has got a green tea take, and champagne expert Richard Juhlin put his name behind the premium RJ Jubilee & Blanc de Blancs. And the bottles look great as a party gift too.
5) SEEKING STOUT?
You find the dark stuff comforting at this time of year. It’s a bit like drinking pudding.
You want to sit back and slowly enjoy a G ‘n’ T, without the alcohol. Well, Teetotal G’n’T is for you – made with the botanicals that flavour a good quality gin and tonic, without the alcohol. Just pour over ice and enjoy. Or, there’s the sensational Seedlip. Two non-alcoholic distilled spirits – one spicy, one herbal – with no sugar, no sweeteners and NO calories, but so much flavour and finish. Serve with a good quality tonic, or use as the base for mocktails.
7) WANT WINE?
Alcohol-free wine making is a serious business, not an afterthought, for winemakers like Torres, Vintense and Ariel. They use the best grapes, ideal growing conditions and modern processes to craft Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah Rosé, Merlot, Chardonnay, ready for your tasting notes!
Take home tips:
Forget alcohol-free beers or wines you tried in the past. Things have moved on!
Remember that the same ingredients, care and skill go into making alcohol-free beers and wines as their boozy brothers and sisters.
Explore and try something new – Dry January is about change and adventure after all!