For a long time, ordering non-alcoholic drinks while dining out meant you had to compromise on taste. Most likely, your choices would be limited to something plain or simply sweet, such as water or a soda. Neither providing anything exceptional or complementing to a meal or the overall dining experience.

Luckily, this is starting to change. Especially over the past few years, we’ve seen a rapid growth in alcohol-free options entering the market, as well as consumers more often opting for the alcohol-free drinks at restaurants and bars or in the comfort of their own home. The changes in alcohol consumption have been so consistent, that we dare to say, that this is not just a trend, but a change that has come to stay.

The Market Quickly Catching On

According to the World Health Organization, global alcohol consumption has decreased by 5 % in recent years. Phenomena such as “dry January” and “sober October” are becoming more widespread, and it’s no longer just pregnant women and designated drivers who make the active choice of not drinking. In fact, numbers from a study by Drinkaware suggest that 27 % of drinkers in the UK reduced their alcohol intake in January 2020, of which 72 % continued after the month had ended. Yet, people still want those great taste experiences. They want low-/no-alcoholic drinks that are complex and interesting to drink.

According to a study published by Distill Ventures, the number of non-alcoholic spirits available on the UK market in 2018 grew rapidly from 4 in April to 42 in October that same year. By June 2019, 55 % of restaurants in London served sophisticated non-alcoholic drinks to comply with the rising trend and to cater to the ever-growing demand of the consumers.

The growing demand has resulted in multiple new artisanal brands emerging with their contribution to the low-/no-alcoholic trend. Along with the larger beverage companies, that have included permanent alcohol-free alternatives in their portfolio in order to keep their market share and customers intrigued. Each of these factors are mutually reinforcing, as well as mutually beneficial, resulting in what we believe is a permanent change in how consumers and beverage brands prioritize.

Sparkling Tea is Not an Alternative

The initial motivation behind Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company actually had nothing to do with the low-/non-alcoholic trend flourishing on the market. Instead, it was the realization that drinking tea truly complemented food in ways not always possible with a traditional wine pairing. A realization which Jacob Kocemba, founder of Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company, had when he was a sommelier at a Michelin restaurant in Copenhagen. Despite a wine cellar of thousands of wines, he was unable to find the perfect wine pairing for a dessert, they had on the menu. This consequently made him determined to create the first version of Sparkling Tea, which he tested on the guests and with great success.

The first official bottle of Sparkling Tea landed on the market in 2017 and it did not take long before the two founders, Bo and Jacob, realized the immense potential of being a low- and non-alcoholic producing company. The initial motivation, however, still carries the essence of the brand. The taste is the primary focus, whilst alcohol is seen just like any other ingredient in Sparkling Tea. Sometimes it is added to enhance the flavours of the teas, and other times it is left out to let the teas speak for themselves. It all depends on the blend.

This approach to low- or non-alcoholic drinks is probably one of the factors, that will keep the market growing. As brands start focusing more on taste and less on the simple elimination of alcohol, they’ll manage to develop even more and better taste experiences. Thereby providing consumers with a wider selection, that matches various occasions and preferences.

The Low & No Community

The non-alcoholic aspect might not have been the triggering factor for Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Company, but it has most certainly become a huge and proud part of the company. It has opened doors into a world filled with innovative people, who share the belief that when it comes to taste, one should not have to settle. Severalcommunities focusing on low and no drinks are popping up everywhere, such as Club Soda in the UK or the newly launched app Better Without. Also trade fairs solely focusing on the Low and No category are taking place, for example the Low2No Bev fair in June 2021.

We are very proud to be a part of the Low and No journey and the many communities it creates, and we will continue to do our part, as we combine the best tea blends both with and without alcohol.

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