SALES of alcohol-free “spirits” in the UK are up 30% year-on-year, according to market research firm Neilsen.
Shoppers have spent £5.4 million buying 171,000 litres of alcohol-free “spirits” in supermarkets so far this year, analysts said.
Many alcohol-free “spirits” use herbs, berries, roots and botanicals to create flavours similar to gin, prompting their use in cocktails.
News of the rise in sales comes as The Old Curiosity Distillery, based at the Secret Herb Garden south of Edinburgh, has released its “Alcohol-Free Herb Garden Gin”.
The drink uses six botanicals – juniper, coriander, cardamom, lemon balm, yarrow and calendula – which are grown in the garden.
Hamish Martin, director at the Old Curiosity Distillery, said: “We have been able to create a liquid that delivers all the flavour you would expect of a classic London Dry gin, simply without the alcohol.
“This liquid is completely natural and contains no preservatives or flavourings, and we believe we are the first-to-market in that respect.”
The launch of the drink comes hot on the heels of Old Curiosity making a gin for Aldi.
South of the Border, distilleries are also producing alcohol-free drinks.
Chris Bax, head distiller of Bax Botanics in West Yorkshire, said: “Rose and I started producing our first alcohol-free spirit because we felt that England had reached peak gin.
“We live in the middle of nowhere and so one of us always has to drive whenever we go to the pub – there were always 20 craft beers to choose from, and loads of boutique gins, but the alcohol-free options just weren’t there.
“Craft alcohol-free spirits are the latest home-grown success story, and artisanal producers like Rose and I are seeing soaring demand for our products.”
Read more drinks stories on Scottish Field’s food and drink pages.