Globally, consumption of low and no alcohol drinks has been exploding. The demand for healthier and non-alcoholic options along with the sober-curious movement has contributed to the rise of this market, with consumers becoming increasingly health-conscious and looking for alternative beverages to consume. We have also seen a significant increase in the growth of non-alcoholic drinks here, and it has been great to see local producers responding with a rapid rise of New Zealand made non-alcoholic drinks coming to market over the past 18 months.
The rise of New Zealand made non-alcoholic beer
International breweries dominated the early years of the non-alcoholic beer market. Many of these globally produced beers are excellent, but were difficult to obtain here in New Zealand. That’s where we came in, and we’ve been delighted to be able to bring these high-quality non-alcoholic products to you. Fortunately, however, New Zealand breweries have now come to the party 🥳
This started with three key releases that happened in the last quarter of 2021 - Bach Brewing All Day IPA, Garage Project Tiny, and Sawmill Bare Beer. These beers are all excellent, and as good as anything we've imported from overseas. Since these beers have launched, the New Zealand made non-alcoholic craft beer market has seen huge growth, with Bach Brewing expanding their 0% ABV range to include a Hazy IPA and a Pilsner, and other breweries releasing tasty zero options such as these:
- Good George Virtual Reality Hazy IPA
- Behemoth Responsibly Non-Alcoholic Hazy IPA
- Brothers Brewery Fill Yer Boots Non-Alc IPA
- Epic Super Zero Non-Alcoholic India Pale Ale
We have even seen the launch of New Zealand’s first (and currently only) alcohol free brewery open in the Hawkes Bay, with State of Play dedicating 100% brewing capacity to making zero ABV beers. Their aim is "to create a zero-percent beer that tastes the way beer should – brewed the natural way, with the best New Zealand ingredients". They currently have two beers on offer, the first being the flagship State of Play IPA, the second one being for the "hop-heads", the Nectaron Unfiltered Pale Ale which is all about the hops and is much higher in bitterness than the IPA.
Our mainstream breweries have also got on board, with a variety of well known household brands coming out with a zero option. In our shop you’ll find the likes of Steinlager Zero, Speights Summit 0.0%, Heineken 0.0% as well as Macs Stunt Double (0.5% ABV) - which has a bit more of a crafty and malty flavour to it compared to the rest.
New Zealand made non-alcoholic wines
It’s not all about the beers though, we have some great New Zealand made non-alcoholic wines too! While it has taken a little longer for the wineries to get on board with the zero movement, judging by what is now being produced, they are off to a great start.
The first NZ brand to market a non-alcoholic wine was Giesen with their non-alcoholic Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Off the back of this success, Giesen have expanded their range to now include five varietals. The Giesen 0% range features three major firsts – not only the first 0% New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, but also the first 0% New Zealand red wine (a full bodied Merlot), and the first 0% New Zealand Riesling. Also included in the 0% range is a Rosé and Pinot Gris, all of which are great in our opinion!
Ara Zero wines are another top-quality, New Zealand made option. Ara Marlborough Wines grow and select fruit from their vineyards to craft a full-strength wine, then delicately remove the alcohol without sacrificing flavour. Ara Marlborough Wines now have two varieties in their zero line up – the Sauvignon Blanc and the newly released Rosé, with the Sav being one of our top picks.
New Zealand made alcohol-free cider
Another category where we’ve seen recent growth is with New Zealand made alcohol-free cider. Starting with Zeffer which is brewed in the Hawkes Bay, we’ve got a Passionfruit option in the shop as well as a Crisp Apple Cider which are both 0.0% ABV. We’ve also got a tasty non-alcoholic Doris Plum Cider from Good George Brewing Co that is made in the Waikato.
New to the market are the award winning non-alcoholic ciders by Old Mill, brewed using fruits grown in the Nelson region. From Old Mill, we've got two 0.5% ABV options for you - Boysenberry which won gold and a Crisp Apple Cider which won Silver at the 2022 NZ Cider Awards 🥇🥈
Ciders are one of those drinks where the flavour options could be endless. With the growing demand for non-alcoholic drinks we're seeing, it's likely that the selection and quality of non-alcoholic ciders in New Zealand will continue to expand – and we look forward to it!
New Zealand made alcohol-free spirits
Ecology and Co are one of the original players in the alcohol-free distilled spirits category for New Zealand, creating spirits that are sure to satisfy even the most refined palate. Their distilled spirits are sugar-free, carb-free, fat-free and alcohol-free, providing the perfect base for many non-alcoholic cocktails to be enjoyed on any occasion. They currently have two distilled spirits to choose from (London Dry and Asian Spice), as well as some convenient ready to drink packs all of which we have available for you to purchase in our shop.
New Zealand made 0% cocktails and RTDs
The Ecology & Co range go well with the Good Cocktail Co mixers which are also made here in New Zealand. These premium 0.0% alcohol-free mixers use all natural ingredients to help you create “good” cocktails at home. And when we say “good”, that’s really an understatement. You won’t find a better mixer on the market.
The Finery 0% range are another alcohol-free cocktail option that showed up early to the ‘low and no’ party in New Zealand. Available in ready to drink cans they’ve got flavours such as Vanilla & Elderflower, Lemon, Myrtle & Lime, Grapefruit & Cucumber, Ginger & Green Tea, as well as a mixed pack which gives you the chance to try them all.
Of course, no post about NZ made non-alcoholic drinks would be complete without mentioning entrepreneur Lisa King and her zero alcohol Curious AF range of RTDs. Lisa’s ready to drink range features various Gin & Tonics, a Vodka Spritz, Apero Spritz, Dark & Stormy, Cuba Libre, Tokyo Highball and even a Sparkling Sake. Last year Lisa also set up a non-alcoholic pop-up store in Ponsonby Auckland, and due to its success, this store has now become a permanent retail outlet. Yet another first for New Zealand's non-alcoholic sector 🍸
New to our store we’ve also got a range of ready to drink options by Terps & Co and Elta Ego, both made in New Zealand using botanical extracts and natural ingredients that boost flavours and enhance the overall drinking experience. These are just two examples of no doubt many more NZ brands that are yet to join this category.
More NZ made non-alcoholic drinks yet to come!
This is really just the beginning, it’s an exciting time for the ‘low and no alcohol’ category and a great time for consumers to be getting a bit more sober-curious. As people become more aware of the quality and benefits of non-alcoholic drinks, and as this category overall continues to grow, we will see more New Zealand businesses entering this space and offering a greater range of locally made products.