Make like a millennial and go easy on the alcohol with these great sites.

The wellness trend of recent years has had a huge impact on what we eat, how we behave and what we drink, too. Across the generations, people appear to be knocking back less booze than ever before. But don’t be depressed by this fact, because the happy result is a market awash with delicious alternatives to alcohol.

According to figures published in The Guardian, UK alcohol consumption fell from 3.07 units per day in 2003 to 2.57 units in 2017. Plus, the number of British people who do not drink at all has reached 5.4 million, which is an increase of 35 per cent since 2013.

Meanwhile, sales of non-alcoholic beverages are booming. The Wall Street Journal reports that alcohol-free beer sales have grown by an average of 3.9 per cent for the past five years. Indeed, the days are long gone when people wanting a soft drink had to settle for a Sprite or a Coke. It is now perfectly normal for fancy mixologists to concoct tasty mocktails and independent producers to innovate glorious substitutions.

Whether you are propping up a steamy bar, idling in a leafy garden or chilling on a roof terrace – could this be your summer of sobriety? Make like a true millennial and check out these great websites for alcohol-free drinks.

SEEDLIP DRINKS


Ben Branson set up Seedlip in 2014 to solve the dilemma of “what to drink when you’re not drinking”. He grew up on a pea farm in Lincolnshire and came later to an interest in alchemy. Combining the two, he created the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip. Designed to be mixed with tonic or in a mocktail, it is utterly delicious. Branson told Forbes magazine: “I wanted a healthier way of life, the hangovers, the drinking, that was just not me. [But] whenever I went out with friends, the only non-alcoholic drink there was filled with sugar, one-dimensional and did not have much flavour.” The rest is prettily marketed history.

LA Brewery


Kombucha, with its myriad supposed health benefits, is all the rage. If you are not familiar with the fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a SCOBY, you must have been living under a rock. Excellent kombucha producers are popping up all over the place. Check out the LA Brewery in Suffolk, for instance, where Louise Avery makes three delicious flavours of the magic elixir, including Lemongrass, Strawberry & Black Pepper and Ginger. An interesting fact for the trivia buffs among you is that Kombucha contains trace levels of alcohol due to the fermentation process but because it is no more than 0.5 per cent, it is classified as a non-alcoholic drink.

FEVER-TREE


Yes, we promise, it does make sense to include this fabulous purveyor of mixers in our list of alcohol-free drinks. Though tonic water is traditionally paired with a good slug of the hard stuff, Fever-Tree makes such delicious, inventive flavours, you really don’t need to add booze to them at all. We love an ice-cold glass of their Refreshingly Light Elderflower Tonic Water on a hot summer’s evening. Fever-Tree launched (with their Premium Indian Tonic Water) in 2005 and has leaped from strength to strength ever since. It is perhaps because of their unwavering focus on flavor and quality that they reported a 34 per cent jump in pre-tax profits for 2018. Tatler magazine described Fever-Tree tonics, gingers beers and colas as the “ultimate mixers – and just as good on their own”.

NIRVANA BREWERY


Based in East London, Nirvana is the UK’s only craft brewery dedicated to the production of alcohol-free beers. Raised in a family of beer-lovers, Becky Kean launched the business in 2017. Her father had gone teetotal and she – touchingly – wanted to find a way for him still to feel part of the gang at social events. The Nirvana teams says: “From familiar styles of beer such as stout, IPA and pale ales, to experimental brews, including the world’s first kombucha beer, our tried and tested recipes produce quality alcohol-free alternatives, ready to be appreciated by craft beer enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers alike.” Buy them solo or in mixed cases of 12 or 24 via the website.

AGUA DE MADRE


Wow, the Agua de Madre site looks good. Clean, perky and uplifting, this is one chic brand. Brewed in small batches by skilled Londoners, Agua de Madre is an invigorating water kefir that is best served with mint and ice. Founders Nicola Hart and Sam Clark say: “Our mission is to encourage madres to shine in all forms, nurturing our guts and our communities along the way.” For now, you can only buy it in trendy wellness shops (see site for stockist details). We hope Agua de Madre is sold online soon – not least because Wallpaper magazine insists that it “immaculately fills the hole of interesting drinks to drink when you are not drinking”.

BELVOIR


Back in the 1970s, Mary Manners started making cordials in her kitchen out of the elderflowers growing on her husband’s family estate in Leicestershire. By 1984, she was bottling her cordial and selling it to local delis and farm shops. Raspberry and lemon flavours followed in 1986. Carbonated variations were such a hit that, by 2012, the family had sold a million cases of their drinks. Today, the award-winning Belvoir (pronounced beevor) Fruit Farms produces over 40 exquisite flavours and is a firm favourite in the non-alcoholic drinks market. We like bottles of Belvoir for their pretty colours, celebratory bubbles and total absence of booze.

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August 2019