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How to build a powerful brand in the No and Low alcohol category

In the following blog, we’ll give you some tips and important data to get you started on building a powerful brand in the no- and low-alcohol industry.

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The no and low alcohol category is growing rapidly with global sales expected to reach $25 billion by 2025. In the last 8 years, it’s already seen a 506% increase in global sales.

The growth is driven by a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of mindful drinking, the growing health and wellness trend, and the rising number of people who are allergic or intolerant to alcohol.

Where there is opportunity, there is also competition. To stand out in a rapidly growing market, brands need to find ways to stand out from the crowd and make a name. In the following blog, we’ll give you some tips and important data to get you started on building a powerful brand in the no- and low-alcohol industry.

Know your target audience

Research and understand your target audience so you can tailor your brand messaging and positioning to resonate with them. The no and low alcohol spirits category attracts a diverse range of consumers, from health-conscious individuals to those who simply want to enjoy a delicious beverage without the buzz. Conduct thorough market research to identify the unique preferences, lifestyles, and values of your potential customers. Ask questions like:

What are their motivations for choosing no and low alcohol options?

What flavour profiles and ingredients resonate with them?

What occasions and settings do they associate with these drinks?

What are their expectations regarding branding, packaging, and messaging?

By gaining a deep understanding of your audience, you'll be better equipped to create a brand that speaks directly to their needs and desires.

For some more direct insights, you can read our report, in collaboration with ISWR and CGA. It dives into stats from bartenders and consumers alike and will shed some light on the questions you can dig into with your audience.

Quality Is Non-Negotiable

One of the biggest challenges facing no and low alcohol brands is the perception that their products are inferior to alcoholic drinks. To overcome this challenge, you need to focus on creating high-quality products that taste great. This means using the best ingredients and innovative production methods to remove the alcohol without sacrificing flavour.

Consumers expect these beverages to deliver on taste and experience. Whether you're crafting a non-alcoholic gin, whiskey, or herbal liqueur or any other sans-alcohol libation, invest in the quality ingredients and the sound production processes. Quality assurance and rigorous taste testing should be an integral part of your brand development.

Incorporate feedback from experts, focus groups, and blind tastings to ensure your product not only meets but exceeds consumer expectations.

Brands like Ritual Zero (just one of the brands we work with) have demonstrated that exceptional quality can win over even the most discerning of palates.

Collaborate and Innovate

Collaboration can be a powerful strategy in the no and low alcohol spirits category. Partnering with like-minded brands, mixologists, or wellness experts can help you expand your reach and tap into new markets. For example, collaborating with a renowned bartender to create signature cocktail recipes using your product can elevate your brand's image and introduce it to a wider audience.

Innovation is also essential in this rapidly evolving market. Experiment with unique flavour combinations, production techniques, and packaging formats to keep your brand fresh and exciting. Seedlip, for instance, introduced the concept of "non-alcoholic cocktails," or "nolo" cocktails, to the market, showing how innovation can create a new category within the category

Craft a Compelling Brand Story

Storytelling is a powerful tool in brand building. Your brand story should convey your mission, values, and the journey that led you to create your no or low-alcohol spirit. It should resonate with your target audience on an emotional level, making them feel connected to your brand.

Consider the story of Seedlip, one of the pioneers in the no-alcohol spirits category. Ben Branson, the founder, was inspired to create Seedlip after stumbling upon a 17th-century herbal remedy book. He crafted a brand that celebrated the art of distillation and the rich history of non-alcoholic beverages, setting Seedlip apart as a premium and authentic choice in the market.

Your brand story doesn't have to be extravagant, but it should be authentic and relatable. Share your passion and purpose with your audience, and they'll be more likely to choose your product over others.

Build a Strong Online Presence

In today's digital age, having a robust online presence is crucial for brand success. Your website should be informative, user-friendly, and optimised for e-commerce if applicable. Engage with your audience on social media platforms, sharing not only product updates but also lifestyle content that resonates with your target market.

Invest in content marketing to establish your brand as an authority in the no and low alcohol spirits space. Create blog posts, videos, and social media content that educate consumers about the category, provide cocktail recipes, and share the latest industry trends.

Transparency and Authenticity

Today's consumers are more conscious than ever about what goes into their bodies. Embrace transparency by providing detailed information about your product's ingredients, sourcing, and production methods. Highlight any health benefits, sustainability efforts, or unique selling points that set your brand apart.

Authenticity is another key aspect of building trust with your audience. Avoid overhyping your product with extravagant claims. Instead, focus on delivering on your promises and showcasing your brand's commitment to quality and sustainability.

Seek Funding and Strategic Partnerships

Scaling your brand in the competitive no and low alcohol spirits market may require additional resources. Consider seeking funding through investors or venture capitalists who specialise in the beverage industry. Distill Ventures, for example, has a track record of supporting innovative spirits brands.

Strategic partnerships can also be instrumental in growing your brand. Collaborate with distributors, retailers, and bars to expand your reach and make your products more accessible to consumers.

Key Takeaways

The no and low alcohol spirits category is poised for continued growth as consumer preferences shift towards healthier and more mindful choices. Building a powerful brand in this space requires a deep understanding of your audience, a compelling brand story, a distinctive brand identity, and a relentless commitment to quality and authenticity.

Remember to embrace innovation, collaborate with industry experts, and educate and empower your consumers to create a lasting and impactful presence in the no and low spirits category.

Here are some additional tips that may be helpful:

  • Use premium packaging and branding to create a sense of luxury and exclusivity.
  • Position your brand as a healthier and more sustainable alternative to alcoholic drinks.
  • Target consumers who are looking to reduce their alcohol intake, pregnant women, and people who are allergic or intolerant to alcohol.
  • Use marketing and advertising that is targeted to your specific audience.
  • Be patient and persistent. It takes time to build a strong brand, but it is definitely possible.