What's The Production Process For Non-Alcoholic Spirits?

In a world where the quest for healthier, more conscious living is paramount, non-alcoholic spirits have emerged as an elixir of the modern era. These enticing libations offer the satisfaction of a cocktail without the alcohol content, making them the perfect choice for those seeking to elevate their drinking experience without the buzz. So, how are these ingenious liquids conjured?

To demystify the craft of non-alcoholic spirits and the fascinating art of their production, it's crucial to understand their underlying principles and the methods used to create them. While the specific techniques vary between brands, the general production process follows a similar alchemical blueprint in which the heart and soul of non-alcoholic spirits are botanicals. 

Juniper, coriander, citrus peels, and an array of herbs and spices form the primary arsenal. These botanicals provide the essential flavors and aromas that mimic traditional spirits like gin, whiskey, or rum. Up next, extraction is the key. The botanicals are macerated, distilled, or extracted using procedures such as steam distillation or cold infusion. Each technique accentuates different profiles and ensures that the non-alcoholic spirit captures the essence of its alcoholic counterpart, perfect for making mocktails taste as much like their traditional counterpart as possible.

The process for making non-alcoholic spirits is delicate

Once the botanicals have imparted their unique character, the resulting extracts are carefully blended, like a maestro composing a symphony. This process is an art in itself, as it requires perfecting the balance of flavors, fragrances, and mouthfeel. Some brands employ distillation techniques similar to those used in traditional spirits production. These methods essentially ensure a clean, pure, and authentic swig.

A dash of sweetness often plays a crucial role in the final product as well. Natural sweeteners like agave syrup, honey, or fruit extracts are added to replicate the mouthfeel of an alcoholic spirit without compromising the alcohol-free nature. Just like a great whiskey slowly ages in oak barrels, non-alcoholic spirits are allowed to rest, mellow, and mature before bottling. This resting period allows the flavors to marry and develop more complexity. The final product is bottled with care, and its label proudly reflects the artistry, the botanical constituents, and the unique character of the non-alcoholic spirit. 

This process has been repeated more and more as the rise of non-alcoholic spirits has been nothing short of meteoric. As many consumers increasingly opt for alcohol-free alternatives, the demand for these elixirs has soared. In fact, according to global data from the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beverages sales surged by a whopping 7% in 2022, thereby topping $11 billion. This staggering growth is a testament to the shifting preferences of today's consumers, who seek the pleasures of a well-crafted drink without the booze-induced fogginess.

NA spirit brands are finding their way to store shelves

There are a number of pioneering brands in the realm of alcohol-free liquors, many of which have been deemed game-changing. Seedlip, a line of boozeless spirits made in England, is often heralded as the trailblazer of the non-alcoholic spirits movement. With a range of offerings, the company has perfected the art of crafting alternatives that reflect different palates. Each third of its trio of flagship products — Spice, Garden, and Grove — boasts a unique blend of extracts, from bitter orange and lemon to spearmint and thyme.

Another prominent player in the non-alcoholic spirits realm, Ritual Zero Proof offers a broad selection of alcohol-free alternatives, including whiskey, gin, and tequila. They've made a significant impact on the world of mocktails, providing an excellent foundation for formulating sophisticated, alcohol-free drinks. SANS Junipre, the brainchild of Boundless Beverages in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has mastered the art of creating a botanical spirit that mimics the distinctive essence of gin. Infused with juniper berries, lemon zest, and other carefully chosen ingredients, it offers the perfect gin-like experience without the alcohol.

Even some celebrities are change agents in the NA sphere. For instance, actress Blake Lively founded Betty Buzz, a collection of sparkling soda mixers that can be enjoyed alone or poured into any mocktail or low-ABV drink recipe. And singer Katy Perry owns De Soi, an anthology of colorful non-alcoholic aperitifs.