By Erika Ollén, founder of Gnista Spirits.
Remember when non-alcoholic drinks followed easy to understand rules? When you knew what to expect from a juice, a soft-drink or an energy-drink? No more! Today’s soaring demand and competitiveness have forced brands to be more creative, coming up with more differentiated offerings.
Over the past 20 years I’ve experienced the upcoming complexity of the no/low space firsthand. Gnista was actually developed as a reaction to the way the 0% spirit category evolved. For me spirits are complex, challenging liquids with depth and mouth feel. And I didn’t agree that the herbal waters juniper could be called such.
In my head you cannot dealcoholize spirit and get a spirit. So how to go about it?
We started with the liquid and the consumption occasion: Gnista must to do the job, substituting dark spirits on nights when you want to treat yourself. And our brand clearly communicates alcohol. But we decided against calling Gnista a whiskey or gin – comparison equals expectations and, really, it’s not the name but the drinking experience that matters.
Take wine. Amazing with food but hard (impossible?) to dealcoholize with a good result. Sour cherry juice from Alain Milliat, on the contrary, really works. No grape in sight but acidity and body at length!
Just like veganism needed labels in the early days (“sausages” “cheese”) my prediction is that consumers will embrace the complexity of new no/low drinks and accept them for what they are. A bit confusing for the time being, I know. Luckily, you can get to know them by tasting. And so my tip for the summer: Head to The Other Bottle and fill your glass!