Consumers appear to be falling out of love with alcohol. UK alcohol consumption fell to 2.57 per day in 2017, compared to 3.07 in 2003. While the number of Brits who don’t drink reached 5.4 million in 2018. Reasons for this has been cited as greater health conscious, economic reasons and more time spent on social media.

And according to the Office of National Statistics, this trend isn’t restricted to younger people with the number of teetotal adults in the UK growing to 20.4% last year.

Consumers aren’t just saying no to alcohol. Waste and products that negatively impact the environment are a ‘no’ go on the menu. A Nielsen Global Corporate Sustainability Report poll found that 73% of Millennials expressed a willingness to spend more on a product if it comes from a sustainable brand.

These consumer behaviours have been shifting into the events sphere and event organisers and venues are having to be more innovative with the beverages they serve. Balance and a greater demand for a healthier lifestyle means sickly sweet alternatives like the traditional pint of coke for the designated driver just won’t cut it.

The industry has been responding by designing new products and recipes to meet rising demands for less boozy nights out. Join the ‘Low or No’ revolution and try adding some of these beverages to your summer drinks menu.

1. Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee will continue to be a huge trend in 2019. This coffee is brewed in exactly the same way as traditional coffee, the only difference being that cold water is used instead of hot. The process produces a less bitter smooth taste better suited for summer months. Cold Brews can be made with spices and teamed with sweet syrups to give a more complex taste.

Serve high-quality coffee mixed with lemonade and a lime infusion for the perfect refreshment for long hot summer evenings.

2. CBD Cocktails

CBD started as a wellness trend to help alleviate pain and anxiety. This non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp is creeping its way onto cocktail menus in everything from infusions and teas. Putting CBD in a low ABV or non-alcoholic cocktail means guests can enjoy a drink or two and still be able to hit the gym the next day.

3. Alcohol-Free Beer

If you love the refreshing taste of beer but don’t want the alcohol, brands like Becks and Heineken have you covered this year with many other big brands following suit. Major breweries have seen sales stagnate or fall in recent years, but the sales of non-alcoholic beers continue to has continued to increase especially in Europe. Reuters reported in 2017, from 2010 to 2015, the zero alcohol beer segment in Europe saw sustained growth while the overall beer market shrank. Non-alcoholic beer can also potentially offer brewers higher margins because they are subject to lower taxes.

4. Kombuchas

Kombuchas will continue to be important this year. But what is Kombucha we here you say? Kombucha is a fermented probiotic tea and a specific culture known as a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts) often mixed with botanicals, fruit juices and other flavourings added after the fermentation process.

Due to the fermentation, it contains probiotic bacteria that can help to balance the gut and improve digestion, making it the perfect aperitif after a large celebration meal or summer bar b que.

5. Herbal Mocktails

Better for you’ mocktails are taking over the alcohol-free space. And alcohol-free doesn’t have to mean boring. Mixologists are using a range of herbs and spices to create drinks bursting with exciting flavours and fragrant layers. These combinations come with some health benefits too.

Fresh herbs like mint can be great for digestion. Cinnamon has potent antioxidant activity and helps fight inflammation. Current research indicates that sage may be able to improve brain function and memory. So explore the herb garden and start mixing up some exciting summer concoctions.

6. Low Impact Spirits

Just as alcohol has a direct impact on our bodies, we rarely consider the impact alcohol production has on the environment. In 2009, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) launched an Industry Environmental Strategy for its membership of 101 malt and seven-grain distilleries, accounting for over 90% of the industry. Alongside commitments on water reduction and packaging, it set a target of 20% energy from renewable sources by 2020 and 80% by 2050. At the time of the strategy launch, non-fossil fuel energy use in the industry was at 3% and by 2012 it had reached 16%.

Over the last five years, the Scotch whisky industry has undergone an energy revolution and successfully met its target to source 20% of energy from environmentally sustainable means. So, how green is your whiskey?

7. Boxed Water

Plastics had replaced glass at events as a safe reliable alternative. As consumers are turning their backs on plastic and looking for more sustainable options boxed water has become the natural choice. The Boxed Water carton is fully recyclable, down to the cap with 76 percent of the product made using paper from certified, sustainably managed forests. Boxed Water may, in fact, be an improvement on bottled water. Not just in terms of sustainability, but in the way that a highly disposable product is produced, packaged, and shipped.

8. Non-Alcoholic Wine

If you love a cold glass of wine on a summer’s evening the thought of a sweet processed version might not sound very appealing. But non-alcoholic wines are becoming ever more popular and growing number of consumers are seeking out lower alcohol or alcohol-free versions of their favourite drinks thanks to a shift towards a more mindful lifestyle.

According to the Telegraph Waitrose & Partners reports that sales of low alcohol wines were up by 31 per cent in 2018 with recent research suggesting that 47 percent of us avoid alcohol during the week, rising to 55 per cent among 18-24-year-olds. Pierpaolo Petrassi, Head of Beers, Wines and Spirits at Waitrose comments, “We have seen a strong increase in demand for quality no or low alcohol drinks over the last year and are excited to offer our customers an innovative and wide range of choices.”

They also added that ‘It’s important to point out that non-alcoholic wine tends to lack the complexity and length you’ll find in the real thing, so lower expectations accordingly.’

9. Non Alcoholic Aperitifs

A whole new drinks category was created with the launch of Seedlip in 2015, a non-alcoholic botanical drink aimed at the gin drinker. These drinks cost the same as a premium gin but there’s no duty to pay.

Without alcohol, too much botanical character will be aggressive but too little will be bland. They do, however, tend to contain a lot of sugar and many are pretty pricey.

10. Sparkling Tea

Sparkling water is growing, driven in part by consumers who are concerned about sugar but still looking to satisfy their craving for carbonation. And this trend is crossing over to the tea sector. Sparkling tea is set to be a big trend in the coming year. These products exemplify the versatility of tea and how it can be enjoyed in many forms and formats. Ready-to-drink tea appeals to the active consumer, sparkling tea is a healthy soda substitute, and the popularity of kombucha, which supports gut health, continues to grow.

The low and no-alcohol lifestyle is booming and events planners are taking note.

Looking for an unusual venue for your next Summer Party? Take a look at our Summer Party venues here.  


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