As we gear up for the holiday season with more social gatherings, the need for interesting and delicious alcohol-free drinks becomes more evident. It’s not just the designated drivers at the Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas Party who don’t want to drink alcohol. There has been a clear shift away from traditional social drinking during the holidays by millennials (1-3) and I foresee this movement extending well past the holidays into 2020 (4).

Mintel reports that alcohol-free mixed drinks grew 35 per cent as a drink choice at bars and restaurants from 2016 to 2019. Seventeen per cent of 1,288 people between the ages of 22 and 24 who drink away from home said they are interested in mocktails (1). Let’s explore why I predict mocktails will trend into 2020.

The Target Markets

People like to socialize but not all drink alcohol. The days of the Virgin Long Island Iced Tea or that super sweet Shirley Temple are history. Older Generation Zs (19 to 22 years) and Millennials are demanding delicious global flavours with complex layers not just at bars and restaurants but for at home too. Whether they are alcohol-free or a social drinker, the new mocktails are made with an experience in mind, not just the original cocktail minus the alcohol ingredient.

Individuals who avoid alcohol due to substance abuse, who don’t drink due to other health reasons and who are pregnant are another target market. To meet their lifestyle choices, they want drinks made with higher-quality ingredients with health and wellness in mind. Mocktails are not just appearing at alcohol-free bars. Traditional bars and restaurants are perfecting the idea too, along with ready-to-drink options available to enjoy at home.

Mocktail

The Options

To make better mocktails at the bar, restaurant or hotel, there has been a shift away from the alcohol as the most important part of the drink to natural juices, herbs, flowers, and other globally-inspired ingredients like matcha, nootropics and moringa. Earlier this month, I sampled Bell Flavours’ Gin Tea Mocktail at the CIFST supplier event. They were showcasing how their flavours can be used to create a trendy ready-to-drink (RTD) mocktail. As this movement heats up, we’re seeing more RTD mocktails launched. Here are three varieties that have caught my eye.

Dry Soda Co’s tagline is Botanical Bubbly to Social Drinking Anytime with the intent to celebrate with a non-alcoholic beverage that delivers on taste with less sugar than traditional soda-pop.

Seedlip is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit. They have launched three interesting varieties including Spice 94 with cardamom, allspice, barks, and citrus.

Mingle Mocktails’ tagline is Now you can Mingle with a Mocktail or Mix for a Skinny Cocktail. Using e-commerce and the home shopping channel for sales, their flavours include blood orange elderflower and blackberry hibiscus bellini.

What’s Next

It’s not just bars, restaurants, ingredient companies and SMEs (small, medium enterprises) who have recognized this shift and opportunity away from customary cocktails. Traditional suppliers are joining the movement. Recently, beer giant Heineken released its first non-alcoholic beer. Sapporo has made an alcohol free beer called Sapporo+ and Budweiser is committed to making 20 per cent of their beers available in low or non-alcoholic types by 2025.

Cheers to the 2019 holiday season with delicious flavourful mocktails, and to what’s new in the mocktail movement for 2020!

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References:

  1. Mintel Analysis Millennials Driving Low/No ABV Drink Trend. Impact Group News. ImpactGrp.com. 2019 June 10 [Internet]. [Sited 2019 Nov 19].
  2. 10 Food Trends To Look For In 2020, According To Whole Foods [Internet]. [cited 2019 Oct 29].
  3. Generation Sober: 10 Reasons Why Millennials are Opting Out of Booze to Socialize. Forbes.com Jules Schroeder. 2017 Sept 26 [Internet]. [Sited 2019 Nov 19].
  4. Make Mine a Mocktail: Why the Non Alcoholic Drinks Trend is Here to Stay. Forbes.com. Elvara Mirez. 2019 April 22 [Internet]. [Sited 2019 Nov 19].

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