A new drinks sector has opened up in the UK – thanks to the launch of ZAG which is causing a stir in the industry.
There is growing interest from both the retail and hospitality trades in the premium adult drink that has created a category all of its own – alcohol-free beer alternatives.
ZAG, which has its own distinctive flavour, crafted from a blend of delicious, natural ingredients, is aimed at people who like the idea of alcohol-free beer but not the taste. It has those classic beer drinking characteristics – a long refreshing drink that’s not too sweet and can be drunk in quantity – but it does not attempt to mimic the taste of beer.
With a whole generation of younger people seemingly turning their backs on alcohol and a large proportion of older adults trying to curtail their consumption, plus health concerns around sugar and artificial additives affecting the soft drinks market, ZAG is riding a wave of new consumer trends that look set to stay.
Alcohol-free beer is the fastest-growing drinks sector in Britain, sales rocketed by 28% in the year until February 2019, but many people do not like the taste of beer with the alcohol removed.
ZAG, pictured below, is being merchandised next to alcohol-free beer brands, which is increasingly overcrowded, and it is an alternative for those consumers who want different options.
It is the first brand from I’m Still Standing Brewing Co, an independent new drinks company based in London, and dedicated to healthy bodies and minds.
The vegan-friendly, zesty, carbonated drink is a crafted blend of kombucha, matcha green tea and botanicals, including lemon, lime, mint and cucumber, with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. And only 54 calories per can.
Jerry Goldberg and Fraser Duncan, co-founders of I’m Still Standing Brewing Co, who both have extensive experience in the drinks and hospitality industries, said: “ZAG is the UK’s first alcohol-free beer alternative – it sits in a new drinks category that satisfies current consumer trends but is not currently served by existing drinks suppliers.
“It is targeted at drinkers who enjoy socialising, but want to cut down their alcohol intake. These consumers are demanding more choice from the alcohol-free sector as they are dissatisfied with alcohol-free beer and reject conventional soft drinks.”
More than 8.5M Brits are actively moderating their drinking whilst over 20% of the UK adult population don’t drink at all.
Two-fifths of Britons, aged 18-24, either do not drink or are trying to moderate their alcohol consumption. However, the largest group of non-drinkers in Britain are women aged 50 and above.
The pair added: “ZAG is a refreshing new direction in socialising without compromise.
“Alcohol’s grip on socialising is weakening as consumers adopt healthier lifestyles and the alcohol-free beer sector is booming but taste is still an issue.
“There is an opportunity to provide consumers with a long, refreshing alcohol-free drink, for social drinking occasions, that does not have the flavour weakness of alcohol-free beer or the health and usage limitations of conventional soft drinks.
“We are creating a new drinks category that sits in between alcohol-free beer and conventional soft drinks – and ZAG is the first entrant.
“Nowadays, one quarter of pub visits don’t include alcohol and as a result, there are key opportunities to improve the range of non-alcoholic drinks for customers.”
ZAG has two flavour themes – there is a grassy, floral theme from the kombucha, matcha and hemp components that blends with a citrusy theme from the lemon, lime and mint, providing an exceptionally refreshing and balanced drink with a subtle sweetness and enhanced with a light carbonation.
Goldberg worked in the beer business for a decade, where he was brand director at the likes of Scottish & Newcastle, and Courage. He started at Unilever as a graduate trainee before later in his career becoming COO at Centre Parcs Europe followed by private equity experience at partner-level. He has also co-created two businesses.
Duncan, a former MD at Terra Firma, one of Europe’s leading private equity firms, has been a board director of a number of drinks and hospitality businesses, including: large tenanted and managed pub companies (Inntrepreneur, The Unique Pub Co, Phoenix Inns, Wizard Inns), which together then represented more than 10% of the UK’s pub estate; Thresher, the UK’s largest off-licence chain at the time; and Meridien Hotels and Resorts, an international hotel and hospitality business.
ZAG is sold in 330ml cans or bottles for £1.80 off trade, and £3.50 – £4 for on trade.