The rise of 0% alcohol brands in a bid to imitate alcohol without the hangover

Low-alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks are seeing a surge in popularity as more people get ‘sober and curious’ – but there’s a warning they’re not a magic bullet for those who are worry about overconsumption.

James Crow, Arjun Narayanan and Arjun Bhargava founded and launched Terps & Co last year for Dry July.

“Our initial idea regarding product design for this space was that people drink for more than flavor, they drink for feeling,” Crow said. “Not the negative feeling of drinking too much, but that uplifting, warming, grounding feeling of the first drink.”

Terps & Co’s beverages are made with terpenes, which the company sources from the United States – a range of plant-based compounds found in herbs, flowers and fruits, which give them their flavor and flavor. flavor and can also give our minds and bodies a good feeling, he says.

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“Drinking terpenes is less about the ‘buzz’, which can sound like being drunk or stoned, and more about the ‘sensations’ that come with the very first drink.”

For most people, it was something that calmed the mind, helped them relax, or felt more motivated for the night ahead, he said.

James Crow, Arjun Narayanan and Arjun Bhargava founded and launched Terps & Co last year for Dry July.

Provided

James Crow, Arjun Narayanan and Arjun Bhargava founded and launched Terps & Co last year for Dry July.

Crow said many adults were looking to take a “part-time” approach to drinking and wanted to do so using alternatives.

A 2020 global study by Lancet found that alcohol consumption among New Zealand women aged 15-39 had fallen by 7.2% since 1990 and by 3.8% among men.

In 2021, 78.5% of adults over the age of 15 had had a drink at least once over the past year – around 3.2 million New Zealanders, according to Department of Health data.

This is a decrease of 3.1% compared to the previous year and 2.1% compared to the previous year.

In 2021, 78.5% of adults over the age of 15 had consumed at least one drink.

UNSPLASH/Stuff.co.nz

In 2021, 78.5% of adults over the age of 15 had consumed at least one drink.

Alcohol Health Watch director Dr. Nicki Jackson said the availability of alcohol-free products, especially beer, had increased rapidly, but there were no solid national data on the prevalence of its use.

Jackson said the availability of alcohol-free alcohol alternatives could be problematic because they could mean people with alcohol problems could risk a relapse or be “triggered”.

Brewing industry data software company Unleashed conducted a study of 62 brewers in Australia and New Zealand in May, and found those offering low-alcohol or non-alcoholic beer or cider increased revenue by 14% last yearwhile companies that did not saw their revenues drop by 4%.

Dr. Nicki Jackson says drinking even 0% beverages could be problematic for people with alcohol use disorders.

Abigail Dougherty / Stuff

Dr. Nicki Jackson says drinking even 0% beverages could be problematic for people with alcohol use disorders.

“Many New Zealanders are increasingly aware of alcohol-related health risks, and attitudes towards alcohol have changed among Millennials and Gen Z,” Jackson said.

“The industry has responded by creating these products to maintain its consumer base and to get people involved in ‘drinking’ occasions.

“We don’t yet know if these products have a potential bridging effect on alcohol consumption among young people. They should be treated as adult-only products,” she said.

Donna Weston, co-founder of online soft drink retail store Clear Head Drinks, said there has been massive interest in 0% drinks over the past year.

“There’s definitely a lot more acceptance, a lot more interest, and generally a lot more open discussion about it, rather than being embarrassed,” she said. “To this is added the quantity of products now available.”

Lisa King started AF Drinks because she wanted to reduce her drinking.

Provided

Lisa King started AF Drinks because she wanted to reduce her drinking.

Blayes Heaven, brand and digital manager at AF Drinks, said there has been a huge increase in awareness of binge drinking, causing people to reassess their drinking habits.

“The impact of this on 0% drinks has been positive as people are now looking for products like AF on their own.”

AF opened Aotearoa’s first non-alcoholic liquor store in Ponsonby, Auckland this month for Dry July.

The AF range used Natural Flavor Technology so the drinks could deliver the complexity of flavors expected in a G&T, Apero Spritz or Dark & ​​Stormy, and was launched after Founder Lisa King wanted to cut down on his alcohol consumption.

“We also wanted to deliver the mouthfeel and feel of alcohol, so we added a natural botanical extract we call Afterglow, which mimics the heat of alcohol.”

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