Insights & Trends
How Ritual Zero Proof Changed the Game For Good
Ritual Zero Proof transformed the non-alcoholic drinks market when they launched in 2019. Now one of the largest non-alc players in the world, they’ve gone from strength to strength over the last twelve months.
When Ritual Zero Proof first launched, they quickly won over consumers with their non-alc spirit alternatives. Having seemingly cracked the code for authentic tasting alcohol-free spirits, their original whisky and gin replacements have gone on to achieve worldwide success.
Hailing from Chicago, Ritual was founded by three lifelong friends, Marcus Sakey, GG Sakey and David Crooch. What started in their kitchens has quickly grown into a global drinks powerhouse thanks to the success of their flagship products and subsequent expansion.
Bars, restaurants and mixologists have all given Ritual Zero Proof the seal of approval, helping to get the word out and reach even more of the ever-growing non-alc market. After enjoying the successes of their whisky and gin alternative, it quickly became apparent that there was scope for more zero proof alternatives and in 2020, after becoming part of Distill Ventures’ portfolio, Ritual Zero Proof’s Tequila Alternative was launched.
To Tequila & Beyond
Creating great tasting non-alc spirits is hard enough, but to produce alternatives to multiple spirits takes recipe development to a whole new level. When Ritual Zero Proof’s non-alc Tequila Alternative launched in 2020, it was the very first of its kind.
The success of the Tequila Alternative was almost instant, says one of the founders Marcus Sakey; “To meet demand for Tequila Alternative, we had to have two shifts working seven days a week to pack and ship boxes”. Its success can be attributed to many things like market growth and reduced licensing issues, but first and foremost the success of all Ritual products has been down to the award-winning quality and innovation behind the drinks.
It’s this focus on quality and industry-first production methods that have since allowed Ritual to expand its portfolio further. In the summer of 2021, they launched another American-made non-alc spirit; Rum Alternative.
Launched just in time for summer without restrictions, Rum Alternative built on the successes of Tequila, Gin and Whisky Alternatives by focussing on flavour. The warm vanilla and toasted spice notes have proved to be a hit with consumers across the US and provide yet another excellent option for those who may be sober, dieting, driving or looking after the kids but who still want to enjoy their favourite cocktail.
Reaching the Right People
Key to the success of any product is distribution and being able to reach your target audience. In 2021, Ritual Zero Proof reached another milestone when they secured a deal with major supermarket chain Whole Foods to stock their products. Increasing the brand’s awareness and reach while making it even easier for consumers to get their hands on the product has played a major role in the next stages of development.
As well as securing their place among America’s top supermarket chains, other industries have taken an interest. In August 2021, Hyatt Hotels announced that they would be running Zero Proof, Zero Judgement - a program that will see Ritual’s spirit replacements stocked across seven of the hotel group’s major brands. This partnership with the hotel chain comes after Hyatt’s own research indicated that 50% of travellers surveyed in October 2021 were actively trying to drink less alcohol and would choose a non alcoholic drink over a beer or cocktail.
The Rise of Non Alc
As many of us are nearing the end of another dry January, an increasing number will either never go back to drinking alcohol or will reduce their consumption dramatically. In a world with increasingly health-conscious values, the non-alc spirits industry continues to be big business.
In fact, from October 2020 to October 2021 there was a 315% increase in non and low alcoholic drink sales compared with a 26% increase in alcoholic drink sales over the same period.
There are plenty of health and wellness trends emerging causing us to reevaluate our relationship with alcohol. While low alc beers have been on the market for years, there are now more options than ever with innovative companies like Ritual constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Although the total no/low market only represents 3.5% of the total alcohol market, this still equates to $3.1 billion and is only set to increase.
With the non-alc industry rapidly growing, we’re always on the lookout for established, innovative brands to take to the next level. Our Pre-Accelerator programme has been designed specifically for early stage drinks businesses founded by members of underrepresented communities. Find out more about how we can supercharge your business today.