How to start catering for people who aren’t drinking

Sep 17, 2018

drinking glasses drying

For many, abstaining at home is the lesser of two evils, as it allows you to create a controlled environment where the fridge can be filled with one’s favourite non-alcoholic drinks. 

But eating out is a different matter. You choose the restaurant and select enticing dishes from the menu, while your dining partners peruse the lengthy wine list your choice is somewhat more limited. For the food, everyone’s personal taste is catered to. Those with dietary preferences such as vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free will, of course, be offered appropriate dishes. But as modern customers become more demanding, everyone’s personal taste is catered for and the restaurateurs should be more than happy to help create your perfect experience, whether it is adding extra chillies or swapping a side. If only this personalisation extended to drinks. 

The desire for customisation has been taken to the next level and we see in research that consumers are increasingly taking control as they analyse menus in great detail, seeking clarity of the ingredients and what this means in terms of their calorie and sugar intake. In 2018, according to MCA, the UK’s leading provider of eating and drinking out market intelligence, over 30% of consumers customised their last meal out whilst 55% believed that customisation is an essential element when it comes to making their choice. It seems that, no matter what’s included on the menu, a growing number of consumers want to pick and choose or mix and match because that fits their belief that they, not the proprietor, knows what suits them best. 

Customers are also looking for co-creation in these multi-sensory experiences and for those who are abstaining, drinks options are becoming more available. As a recent entrant, Kolibri allows for customisation and ritual for those who are not drinking. Co-founder and creator Kamilla Sitwell explains: “Kolibri is the world’s first adult bottled drink, tailored to taste. Starbucks was able to turn what was seen as a basic commodity into an experience and within soft drinks, Kolibri will also be a game changer. Our non-alcoholic sparkling drink has a separate patented cap filled with Kolibri drops, a blend of agave, apple, lemon and caramel in a nectar which can be added drop by drop to increase the flavour complexity and sweetness. This means that consumers can make their drink just the way they like it, dry or with a dash of sweetness. Now the consumer is totally in control of their drinking experience, without it being dictated to them by a manufacturer or barman. It also allows for creativity and a new ritual, something that has been totally lacking in the non-alcoholic drinks arena.”

Other options for a customised non-alcoholic drink do of course include bespoke mocktails. Bars should start training their mixologists to take their non-alcoholic options with the same amount of seriousness as their usual cocktails. By becoming a bar that pays attention to non-drinkers as opposed as to only serving them, you can open up doors to a whole new wave of customers.

For me, there are a handful of bars in London that stand out as they take their non-alcoholic drinks just as seriously as their alcoholic beverages. One of those is Dandelyan with its virgin Canon Cosmo which reflects the power and brightness of its alcoholic sister, the Cosmopolitan. Ryan Chetiyawardna, the innovative bartender otherwise known as Mr Lyan, explained how they do it. “To get savoury notes we often use ‘teas’ made from herbs and spices, such as dried chillies and fruits. Changing what you use as an acidulant works too – citrus often needs quite a lot of sweetness to balance it out so using vinegars and tart juices can lead to a cleaner, drier profile.”

Alternatively, Redemption is a bar with a difference - there is absolutely no alcohol. This bar and vegan restaurant with an extensive mocktail menu has as its mission ‘Spoil yourself, without spoiling yourself!’ The Frocorita with its frozen coconut water, lime and birch syrup, blitzed with ice and rimmed with Himalayan mountain salt feels like a familiar cocktail and with all the benefits of a clear head the morning after.

For a traditional cocktail experience, head off to the American Bar at the Savoy, the oldest surviving cocktail bar in Britain and named the World’s Best Bar at Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards 2018. The drinks mix the classics with the new and their experienced bartenders are always available to create your ultimate drink. Their non-alcoholic offering includes the delicious sounding Transparency which is a blend of Seedlip 108, coconut water, verjus, pineapple syrup, tonka tincture and non-alcoholic absinthe tincture which should put any drink jealousy at bay.

This customisation and responsiveness is a great way to cater to non-alcoholic drinkers. After all, everyone in a bar just wants one thing, to feel catered for, and being attentive with all of your drinks options is the first step in doing that well.

This article contains information published in a case study, “Abstaining In Style”, written by the Kolibri team that aims to inform people in the hospitality business of major trends which impact their customers. Visit https://kolibridrinks.co.uk/news to find out more and download the case studies.

SHARE

How the call for less sugar is affecting weddings

As the call for a cut on sugar reaches wedding celebrations, I uncover the alternatives that are growing in popularity.

Read More

How brands approached Dry January in 2019

In this article I look at how brands have approached Dry January 2019, from soft drink brands to supermarkets and everything in between.

Read More

Why do social situations usually have to mean drinking?

Not all social situations have to involve alcohol. In this article I discuss the benefits a booze-free night can have on your lifestyle.

Read More

Looking at the history of Dry January

In this article, I look into how Dry January came to be, why you should take part in it in 2019 and the celebs who are already singing its praises.

Read More

Hangover-free drinks: A myth or reality?

Could hangover-free alcoholic drinks soon be a reality? Or are we better off sticking to non-alcoholic options to avoid a headache in the morning?

Read More

Authenticity and the changing face of luxury

As brands strive to meet the increasing demands of consumers, an emphasis on authenticity and personal experiences is changing the meaning of luxury.

Read More

Sugar-free guide to London

Dining out when following a sugar-free or low-sugar diet can be challenging. We’ve created a sugar-free guide to London with top tips on dining out healthily.

Read More

Looking at the sugar in Christmas drinks 2018

This year I wanted to take another look at the shocking truth about sugar-laden Christmas drinks and explore whether coffee shops have tried to make a change.

Read More

The future of sobriety: Alcohol-free clubs, societies and festivals

Are alcohol-free festivals like Mindful Drinking Festival, events that bring together likeminded people to celebrate not drinking, the future of sobriety?

Read More

Is Pepsi buying SodaStream a clear sign that people want more customisation?

Does PepsiCo’s recent purchase of SodaStream show that even the biggest brands in the soft drinks market are hearing the call for customisation?

Read More

The rising popularity of non-alcoholic beers

As people shift away from drinking, beer companies have been quick to start developing their own non-alcoholic brews in order to keep up with new demands.

Read More

A look at Sober October

With ‘dry’ months in the aid of charity becoming more popular, we take a look into Sober October, its history and how someone can take part.

Read More

The truth about sugar: Should we be doing more to give it up?

It’s excellent that consumers are wising up to the potentially harmful effects of sugar. But should we be doing more to give it up?

Read More

How to start catering for people who aren’t drinking

With so many people turning to sobriety, it can be hard for restaurateurs to know where to start when catering for those who aren’t drinking alcohol.

Read More

Kamila Sitwell - Kolibri co-founder is featured by Mintel

Mintel reports how Kamila Sitwell used market intelligence and her passion for the hospitality industry to create Kolibri Drinks.

Read More

Generation sober: why are millennials cutting back on alcohol?

With drinking rates among British adults at their lowest in 18 years, why aren’t millennials drinking alcohol like the generations before them?

Read More

Mintel features Kolibri in its trend setters report

Kolibri Drinks is featured in the Mintel Trend setters report and describes how Kolibri has removed all the sugar from its botanical drinks using a new bottle format that allows consumers to control how sweet their drink is.

Read More

How should the bar industry entice customers away from the sofa?

Although millennials are not as interested in staying home as older people, traditional pubs and bars should be concerned. Younger consumers are drinking less alcohol and seeking out fresh and exciting experiences.

Read More

Other countries taking up the mantle of the sugar tax

Since the Soft Drinks Industry Levy was introduced in the UK in April 2018, other countries have started taking up the mantle of the sugar tax.

Read More

Drinking as a supertaster

Do you despise coriander due to its soapy taste? Or find IPAs overwhelmingly bitter? You might be a supertaster.

Read More

Are adult milkshakes a push back against the clean eating trend?

Replica American diners are popping up all over the UK and with this trend comes a barrage of sugar-laden milkshakes. Topped with Oreos, sweets and even doughnuts, milkshakes are having their moment in the spotlight.

Read More

In customisation we trust

Restaurant food is constantly evolving, from new cooking techniques, indulging fad diets and special superfood ingredients given prominence in menus.

Read More

Should we be scared of artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners are making the headlines again, and not for the right reasons. There are millions of consumers worldwide who happily drink diet fizzy drinks which seem virtuous because they replace sugar but in reality maybe the artificial additives are not as helpful as we imagine.

Read More

Soft drinks sugar solutions post sugar tax

The sugar tax has been hotly debated since it was first mentioned back in 2016 but now, two years on, it has come into action and divided not only the nation, but the entirety of the soft drink industry. While many people are throwing accusations of Nanny State, others are likening it to the taxation of the Tobacco industry.

Read More

Cheers to choice and abstaining in style!

Kamila Sitwell launches Kolibri Drinks, the world's first bespoke bottled drink!

Read More