The merging of non-alcohol, functional, and alcoholic categories.

The merging of non-alcohol, functional, and alcoholic categories.

The burgeoning growth of the non-alcoholic movement has been a joy to experience.

We launched our first born brand, CEDER’S, at exactly the right time, in the summer of 2018, when there was a wonderful coming together of consumer demand, and supply, through independent founder led brands, with a supportive trade in the UK and some markets in Western Europe. 

This does not happen often, and although now it is more business-as-usual with demand and supply leap frogging each other, and more brands being launched, while some fall away, the non-alcoholic movement will continue to grow dynamically throughout the rest of our lives.

This growth will outpace the growth of alcohol, until adults who choose not to drink alcohol, for whatever reason, at whatever moment, have the same choices open to them that alcohol consuming consumers have.

Now there is a new kid on the block, functional drinks. Spearheaded by CBD in the UK (THC in the US) it is mushrooming (pun intended) to include the daunting array of all botanicals including herbs, florals, fruits, spices, fungi, novel botanicals and wild foraged.

In time, I believe functional will be bigger than non-alc, however it will take some years, as more education is needed, along with a supportive trade and legislative environment.

So, we now have 3 different categories, all targeting adults, with emotional brands, in adult social moments and occasions. It really is the same space or game, and the same rules apply. The good news is we can copy the techniques from the alcohol industry, first by targeting specific consumer profiles and/or demographics. Likewise, you would target a specific need-state. CELTIC SOUL non-alc Irish whiskey is for a reward and relax occasion, while MARIE LAVEAU is for a higher energy, get-the-party-started moment. M&C’s CBD Botanical Spirit is for bonding, as it facilitates better connections when we are less anxious. SOLDADERA, our latest brand, a non-alcoholic tequila, will be more on-trade, for those exuberant shooter moments, as well as sophisticated cocktail occasions. 

The array of adult drinks we will have in the future, both at and out of home, will be amazing, with a plethora of exciting, interesting, delicious and emotionally rewarding brands. I cannot wait. However, some brands around today will not make it, if they are not built in an emotional way, speaking to consumer’s old reptilian brains, that makes them love our brands, without knowing why. Thinking less about non-alc vs functional vs alc, and more about need-states, moods, occasions and consumer types will help us to do this.