Drink Warehouse UK Blogs

Published on September 29, 2023.

Why we are talking about ABV? - Part 3

Check out Part 1 & 2 on DWUK | THEBLOG!

The new opportunities created for bartenders and mixologists to explore the creative potential of non-alcoholic ingredients and develop innovative new drink recipes should be the driving force of any bar team approaching the category, as more than ever – uniquely crafted offering will a primary distinguisher between you and your competitor. The evidence of those that have not met the changing habits of consumers has been country wide, with the COVID-19 pandemic drastically exacerbating the decline of venues, especially those with more traditional offering and format of service.


Every venue should decide on their own reasons for driving their non-alcoholic range, as it’s your job to inform your customers of the alternative solutions. The sooner you do this, the more trusting your customers will be of your drive to cater to their needs, even before they know them. The Lyre’s range, is a great first move into the world of NA spirits, producing a full range of bar substitutes. Made specifically for delivering a non-alcoholic cocktail menu that mirrors your alcoholic one. After this you can go wild with alternatives that may offer further depth is mixability like Everleaf, bolder more hardy flavours like in the Crossip Range or go even further with the complex, sense spiking spirits from Three Spirit.

Businesses can tap into this trend is by offering a solid, and drink specific range of low- and no-alcohol options on their menus. This could include alcohol-free beers, ciders, and wines, as well as non-alcoholic cocktails (we try and avoid the term ‘mocktails’ because no one really wants a fake copy of what they want, so make whatever drink is on the menu taste great – regardless of the ABV). By doing so, you’ll ensure your business is a mainstay of peoples out-of-home activity roster.


Now we have those customers feeling welcomed and catered for, how to we – as responsible operators – make sure our guests have fun, maximise on spend and don’t turn into a pain, and often danger to themselves and those around them.


We give them options that help them manage their consumption levels.


This is something the beer world has long held as priority within product strategy, due to the casual format and perception to drinking that beer carried, often in contrast to the “Moving onto spirits” activity which carries a few of heavier impact. This needs to re-align so that consumers have the chance to drink similar abv drinks both at home, and in venue that is more like a “Session Beer”. With most around the 3% ABV-mark, many would scoff at the notion of a 3% ABV cocktail. Consensus shows this is predominantly rooted in the expectation of high price point associated with spirits and cocktails, but it doesn’t need to. With brands like Quarter (our favourite and just listed!), Portobello Temperance and DECEM drinks delivering affordable, low abv solutions to deliver just that. A cost-effective, health friendly spirit-based drink that can be session-ed throughout the day or night and not break the bank.

THIS is the key missing link between closing the gap of mass abstinence that has loomed over our industry in the past decade. You only must look at the rebalancing of approach to vegan-specific food, to see how the greatest noise, often with only marginal uptake, quickly makes way for greater uptake on less extreme broader adoption. Focused on moderation as opposed to straight up-abstinence.


Overall, the trend toward non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks is likely to continue to shape the hospitality industry in the years to come, as more consumers seek out healthier and more mindful drinking options. Bars and restaurants that can adapt to this trend by offering creative and appealing non-alcoholic options are likely to benefit from increased customer loyalty and a more diverse customer base. Thinking about ABV is the best first step in understanding your customer, Journey? When and why do they want to visit your venue? How long would they like to stay, and will more ‘sessionable’ options help to increase dwell time? Experiment and test out options to see what works for your customers, but make sure to get all your team on board with why you’re offering these options. It’ll give the best possible chance to any diversification efforts you and your managers make to keep your venue busy.

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About the author

Matt Searles

Matt is DWUK’s own Spirit Expert with over 10 years of experience in the industry, ready to bring passion and flavour to the world of spirits. He is driven to diversify our customer offerings by further exploring flavour profiles and tasting notes. Matt also wants to educate our customers so they can be the best they can be with the right tools and a bit of fun! 

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