There has been a certain stigma attached to ‘not drinking’ in the past, with the term synonymous with recovering from alcoholism, or simply of the non-drinker being opposed to fun. Wellington bar The Library tackles this perception on its non-alcoholic cocktail menu, with the slogan “Because responsible does not equal boring” appearing at the top of the page.
As New Zealand’s drinking culture changes, so too must those who are supplying the drinks. As palates become more sophisticated and drink-driving laws become stricter, pubs, clubs and taverns will need to provide sophisticated non-alcohol drinks and leave sugary mocktails in the past. Furthermore, offering an appealing range of low-alcohol options will keep any establishment on the right side of the law, reducing the risk of drinking-related incidents.
There are already options out there, such as non-alcoholic spirit brand Seedlip. Blended and bottled in England and distributed in New Zealand by Cook & Nelson, Seedlip has created a bespoke distilling process for each botanical. Seedlip contains zero calories per 50ml serve, is sugar-free, sweetener-free and allergen free, making it the go-to option for those looking for a credible alternative to alcohol.
According to Seedlip founder Ben Branson, the response has been incredible. He was inspired to start the brand after seeing nothing but extra-sugary mocktails on menus for non-drinkers, and set about developing a sophisticated product that could be used in much the same way as regular spirits.
“We are very grateful to be working in over 16 of the most dynamic cities in the world and Seedlip is served in over 150 Michelin-starred restaurants and many of the best cocktail bars and hotels,” he explained. “There are bigger cultural forces at work that mean the timing and need for quality, adult non-alcoholic options have certainly never been more relevant. This global trend, coupled with the decline in sugary and unsatisfactory soft drinks, is literally leading to the dilemma of ‘what do I drink when I’m not drinking’ alcohol.”
Alcohol consumption in the UK has dropped from 3.07 units per day in 2003 to 2.57 units per day, and the number of Brits who identify as non-drinkers has risen 35 percent in the past six years. New Zealand’s alcohol consumption reached a record low in 2016.
An increase in wellness culture and more diverse offerings from suppliers mean that clubs, bars and taverns are able to cater to the tastes of every consumer.