Alcohol-free tequila has entered the market
Ritual drink business enters the tequila market. Not with the usual agave spirit you know and love – the NA Spirits brand has launched an alcohol-free tequila, the first of its kind.
Tequila joins the brand’s current offering of zero-proof gin and whiskey products. Ritual’s alcohol-free tequila will replace the base alcohol (in this case, tequila) in Palomas, Margaritas and beyond.
What makes alcohol-free tequila?
The product skips the same harvesting, cooking and distilling process as standard agave spirits. Instead, the liquid created via an additive process of blending plants chosen to replicate the flavor profile of each spirit. “Our tequila alternative features a grassy aroma with hints of guava, green pepper and Mexican lime,” describes co-founder Marcus Sakey. The product sells for $ 25.
Ritual was founded in Chicago in September 2019 by three best friends: Sakey, bestselling author; David Crooch, an expert in natural foods; and GG Sakey, advertising veterinarian and project manager. The small business took off, selling through shares that are expected to last six months within five weeks.
Diageo took the wind and bought a minority investment in the company through Distill Ventures.
For those who think the brand is tequila minus the alcohol, “we’re not,” Sakey says. “Ritual Zero Proof is not alcohol without alcohol.” Each bottle contains no alcohol, calories, artificial flavors, gluten, or allergens.
In the last seven months since its launch, the brand has seen tremendous success in the alcohol-free category. “Since entering the market in 2019, demand has not been there,” Sakey describes. “We sold a six month supply in five weeks. We disappoint the projections for 2020: sales increased 93% between February and April. The zero-proof spirit is stocked at retailers, from places recognized by Michelin to big box retailers.
Equally explosive was the entry into the alcohol-free tequila market. “To meet the demand for Tequila Alternative, we needed to have two shifts seven days a week to pack and ship the boxes,” Sakey describes.
Part of the success has been the mid-tier category the product lives in. It is neither an alcoholic drink nor a blender. While regular spirits brands are limited to licensed on- and off-site retailers, non-alcoholic products do not fall under these regulations. They can sell in alcohol retailers, but also in regular grocery stores and other retail outlets.
“Because our products are alcohol-free, we are able to sell online and have customers in all fifty states,” Sakey continues. “But we are also in large retailers like Binny’s Beverage Depot and Total Wine & More. We expect to be in major grocery chains across the country in 2021. ”
Particularly in the days of Covid-19, relying on a direct-to-consumer strategy allowed the company to move forward, selling bottles through Amazon.
Who drinks non-alcoholic tequila?
Apparently everyone. “According to Amazon purchasing data, our demographics range from 20 to 65, split equally between men and women, with incomes at all levels,” says Sakey.
He believes their target demographic is anyone who wants a cocktail without the dizzying evidence. “Some of them are looking to drink a little less. Others watch calories. Many see it as a healthy choice, for better sleep and faster recovery. ”
It makes sense. Often, non-alcoholic drinks are limited to overly sweet sodas or mundane fruit juices. Options without proof, such as Ritual and Seed leaf, allow non-drinkers to have drinks for adults and finally participate in the culture of cocktails.
(During a recent course of antibiotics, I was pleasantly surprised at the variety of my non-drinking options. I made NA margaritas at a backyard barbecue and a non-alcoholic martini instead. of my usual happy hour glass of wine.)
“It’s not a fad. It’s a movement, ”says Sakey. “Whole Foods Market has named alternatives to alcohol as one of the top 10 trends for 2020. Data from industry analysts reports that global consumers explicitly mention ‘alcohol-free’ 81% more often than there are. is one year old. Google Trends, searches for “the benefits of quitting drinking” have increased by 70% over the past five years. “
Now, there are not just basic spirit replacements, but fully NA appetizers and amaro. At the end of last year, famous bartender John DeBary launched Proteau, an alcohol-free aperitif made from blackberry juice, with notes of fig vinegar, chrysanthemum, liquorice and black pepper. Today Ghia hit the shelves; a bitter aperitif with gentian, lemon balm, fig and elderflower.
the IWSR reported at a recent press conference that the non-alcoholic spirits category experienced excellent growth in 2018 and 2019, with CAGR growth of 10%. The beverage market analysis company notes that although the market shuns high-end non-ABV drink alternatives.
Consumers are open to soft drinks far outside of January (although Mintel
Bars are taking the wind and it is increasingly common to offer low-alcohol, non-alcoholic cocktails on standard menus. Is the future of alcohol consumption less resilient? It certainly appears to be the case.