A chat with the makers of new non-alcoholic wines

Belvoir WinesWine is incredibly popular in Australia but not everyone enjoys the effects that alcohol can have. Now there is an option for those who like the taste of wine without the hangover.

Belvoir Fruit Farms in the UK have created a new range of non-alcoholic wine for consumers worldwide. It’s perfect for those who want to drink socially without getting drunk.

Inside FMCG had a chat with Belvoir Fruit Farms managing director Peverel Manners and Thirst for Life managing director Anthony Notaras about the new “without the hangover” range of drinks.

Inside FMCG: Belvoir Fruit Farms created “without the hangover” range of drinks. Can you explain the process involved in creating non-alcoholic wine?

Peverel Manners: Yes. The process was one of trying to make a grape juice based drink, which has all the complexity of flavour and dryness of wine. We didn’t want to just de-alcoholise wine as this, we think, damages the taste. So we thought we would start with real pressed grape juices such as Chardonnay and Shiraz, use lots of it and then add things like tea extracts and other fresh juices to give strong adult flavours, which do not have the sweetness of soft drinks.

Anthony Notaras: We identified an opportunity for a range of non-alcoholic wine due to the increased trend of consumers seeking non-alcoholic drinks that have all the same depth and complexity of an alcoholic drink but without any of the alcohol and potentially nasty side effects of over indulging.

This trend is apparent in both non-alcoholic cocktails and wine. So we did some research on more popular wine varieties and identified the key flavour characteristics. We then searched through our suppliers to find some really delicious varietal grape juices that we have used as the base for our “without the hangover” range and blended these with fruit juices and natural extracts of the key flavours and aromas that we wanted to recreate in our drinks. We believe we have developed a range of delicious tasting “grown-up” drinks that truly satisfies the opportunity that we identified.

Inside FMCG: How did Aussies respond to this unique product?

Peverel Manners: So far the response has been good we think although it is early days.

Anthony Notaras: It’s early days, but the initial response shows there is strong demand in Australia for quality adult non-alcoholic drinks and retailers in states that cannot sell alcohol in their stores are on the lookout for a product that will allow them to compete in this segment.

Inside FMCG: Is the market big enough to create more non-alcoholic drinks like “without the hangover”?

Peverel Manners: We believe that as many, many consumers choose not to drink alcohol more and more often the market for this style of adult-focused soft drink will expand hugely in the coming years.

Anthony Notaras: There is already a reasonably large market for non-alcoholic wines and adult soft drinks and with Australia’s changing demographics (immigrants and tourists from countries where alcohol is not consumed as much as by Europeans) and demand for healthier alternatives the demand for this type of product is expected to grow substantially. Hotels, function centres and restaurants that have a large number of non-drinkers are constantly on the lookout for new products in this segment.

Inside FMCG: How does it compete with other brands who manufacture similar products?

Anthony Notaras: We believe our drinks have a more superior flavour delivery than any of the competitor products we have tasted. Our drinks have a more realistic “wine” character due to the carefully selected ingredients and extracts we have used in the recipe.

Inside FMCG: Do you plan to make more flavours for “without the hangover” product range?

Peverel Manners: We may do. We are developing a sparkling white version now, which has all the crispness of Champagne but none of the alcohol. We have not perfected the recipe yet so there is a long way to go.

Anthony Notaras: If the range continues to be successful then, yes, we will look to extend this current range.

Inside FMCG: Any new beverages your consumers should look out for?

Peverel Manners: There will be more new products coming later in the year in time for Christmas including a Christmas Cordial and Festive Fruit Punch, which are both spicy and delicious for drinking warm at Christmas.

Inside FMCG: Are there expansion plans in other countries?

Peverel Manners: Yes, we do intend to expand into more countries with our lovely natural drinks, including China and Canada.

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