Premium drinks distributor Truman & Orange is betting on the growth of non-alcoholic spirits by introducing two new brands to its portfolio: the locally-produced Abstinence and the imported Fluére. This follows the local launch of Ben Branson’s acclaimed Seedlip – the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit – introduced to South Africans by Truman & Orange a year ago.

The shift to mindful drinking and health & wellness

The drinks company notes that globally, the younger generation is more health conscious than ever before and sugary soft drink volumes are declining, while the demand for sophisticated, alternative drinks for adults is growing. South Africans are joining the rest of the world by choosing to drink less, while also drinking better quality, more premium products.

There is a burgeoning need to increase the repertoire available to those not ‘drinking’, but who still want to share a drink with friends without ordering a sugar-laden soft-drink. A Kantar May 2019 white paper concludes that 61% of UK consumers want better choice when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, 58% more consumers are drinking low- and no-alcohol options than they were in than in 2018 and 55% of London restaurants offer sophisticated non-alcoholic drink choices.

In the US, 83% of Los Angeles bar managers see non-alcoholic cocktails as a growing trend, while 40% of restaurants offer a non-alcoholic drinks menu. This drinks trend is here to stay, and a wave of new non-alc brands are expected to land on SA shores.

UK and US statistics are relevant to South Africa as South African drinking trends tend to follow those countries – the craft beer revolution, the gin explosion and cocktail resurgence, to name a few. Just as in the US and the UK, in most of our cultures, meeting for a drink is an important part of socialising; however, the growing trend towards health and wellness leaves South African consumers with very few options – a sugary soft drink, a no-alcohol beer or staying home.

“Non-alcoholic products are not about sugary drinks anymore, it is about sophisticated sipping,” says Hanneli van der Merwe, co-founder of specialist beverage developer Two Green Lemons…

Rowan Leibbrandt, founding owner of Truman & Orange, explains, “The global wellness trend has spurred a move away from artificial flavours to lighter, more natural ingredients and South Africa is no different. The no-alcohol sector attracted an additional 620,000 shoppers in 2019 and Covid-19 alcohol bans have further accelerated this shift.”

“We believe that South Africans are ready to embrace a range of premium, sophisticated spirits which are created using processes and ingredients common to their alcoholic counterparts and enjoyed during the same occasions and rituals, but which are healthy and alcohol-free: credible adult drinks for those not drinking.”

Truman & Orange builds portfolio of non-alcoholic distilled spirits

New flavourful additions

Leibbrandt explains that Truman & Orange’s three non-alcoholic spirit ranges – Abstinence, Fluére and Seedlip – are not meant to replace alcoholic drinks, but rather add diversity and choice so that when consumers aren’t drinking they don’t have to compromise on flavour or ingredients.

“Mixologists can experiment with mixers, garnish and flavour combinations to create perfectly balanced cocktails, just as they would with an alcoholic spirit. The taste and drinking experience are so comparable that it’s possible to switch between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks easily. Finally, the range offers a variety of price points from the super-premium to the more affordable (for those wanting to experiment with non-alcoholic spirits),” Leibbrandt says.

Inspired by the biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom, Abstinence is sophisticated non-alcoholic spirit made using a proprietary artisanal single batch distillation process similar to craft gin-making. The botanicals are extracted by maceration and infusion and distilled with the same distilling equipment used in gin making, but without alcohol for extraction, meaning more of each of the botanicals are needed.

Each Abstinence spirit variant has a distinct, indigenous hero ingredient that is authentically South African. The Cape Citrus variant has Buchu and Western Cape citrus at its core, the Cape Spice variant captures a medley of spices and Honeybush, and the newest addition to the range, Cape Fynbos, showcases Rose Geranium. The Non-Alcoholic Aperitif offers rich, complex flavours. An infusion of botanicals – African Wormwood, Cinchona Bark, All Spice and Clove – support a dominant blood orange resulting in a classic Italian-style bitter with a bittersweet mouthfeel.

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Meanwhile, Fluére comes in three variants: Fluére Original, Spiced Cane or Raspberry. Fluére balances a blend of steam-distilled botanicals including essential oils of juniper, lavender, coriander and lemon peel, which offer a premium taste and a unique after-bite. The brand’s signature is the use of only the finest ingredients and botanicals: seeds from the exotic Casablanca coriander, sugar cane molasses from Dominican Republic, juniper berries from the high peaks of the Himalayas, lavender from Provence and Mediterranean lemon peel.

After successfully launching Seedlip Garden 108 and Spice 94 in 2019, Truman & Orange have introduced Seedlip Grove 42: a citrus-forward blend of lemon and three types of orange (bitter orange, mandarin and blood orange) and uplifting spice distillates (ginger and lemongrass). Seedlip has zero calories and is sugar-free, sweetener-free and artificial flavour-free.

Source: Truman & Orange builds portfolio of non-alcoholic distilled spirits