Published: November 2020
No Alcohol, No Problem: Booze-Free Beverages on the Rise
Curious about the sober curious movement? What’s the lowdown on NOLO? And is 2021 really the “year of the mocktail”?
No- and low-alcohol (“NOLO”) beverages are one of the fastest-growing beverage trends in the market today, with sober nights, alcohol-free pop-ups and entire bars dedicated to serving no-ABV beer, wine and cocktails on the rise around the globe.
But these aren’t your mom’s syrupy Shirley Temples or your dad’s dour O’Doul’s. Today’s mocktails focus on fresh, innovative ingredients like bitters, fruit, teas and vegetables, as well as botanical-heavy spirit substitutes.
New non-alcoholic products are hitting the market every month, ranging from low- to high-end ready-to-drink cocktails as well as beer, wine and specially distilled “spirits.” And while beer led the way in the no-ABV space, spirits are catching up, with premium products that tout quality and exclusivity.
So, what’s spurred this growing interest in non-alcoholic drinks? Like many lifestyle trends these days, it all comes down to health and wellness.
Whether they’re trying to count calories, curb hangovers or prevent the more long-term side effects of drinking, about 1 in 4 Americans say they are looking to cut back on alcohol – and that doesn’t include those who are fully sober. And while millennials are leading the way in the sober curious movement, Gen X and Gen Z aren’t far behind.
Still, today’s teetotalers aren’t willing to sacrifice taste for health, and so this more sophisticated brand of mocktail allows drinkers to indulge in something that feels extravagant without any ill effects.
Thinking of going NOLO at your bar or restaurant? Now may be the perfect time. If you’ve been affected by ordinances that shut down bars early in your community, offering non-alcoholic options could help bring in more guests in the lunchtime and afternoon hours. Other guests may be watching their wallets in an uncertain economy and find value in nonalcoholic options.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of NOLO beverages, there are a few things you should consider: