15.06.2021 - 12:00
It’s the biggest trend in the industry – but what actually is an “alcohol-free spirit”?
The rise of non-alcoholic drinking experiences is one of the biggest global trends in beverages. In our product development team we see this as a great opportunity to widen our portfolio and work with new products.
How does a leading vodka producer adapt to producing alcohol-free products?
There are different ways of creating alcohol-free beverages. We have been studying these and chosen the most suitable ones to different categories. Altia has strong background in alcohol-free wine-based glöggs. The base of a good glögg is a good wine. The base of a good alcohol-free glögg is a good wine and a de-alcoholization process conducted with great competence – not an easy task.
De-alcoholization is a method in which ethanol (eau de vie) is removed from wine. We are very proud to have this capability and competence at our Rajamäki plant. Producing low- and nonalcoholic beverages from wine was Altia’s first step towards other alcohol-free product categories. From the development of wine-based “no-low products”, we have gained crucial insights, e.g., about hygiene, microbiology and legislation. Now we’re putting this knowledge to the test as we’re moving forward to an exciting new category: alcohol-free ‘spirits’.
There is a difference in whether a beverage is naturally alcohol-free or if the alcohol has been removed. De-alcoholization is a good method for creating non-alcoholic wines but when it comes to spirits, the process is not suitable nor sustainable. Alcohol-free ‘spirits’ – which mimic traditional alcoholic beverages like gins and vodkas – need to be developed as alcohol-free from the start.
Are we planning to sell water at the price of ethanol, then?
The sensory experience of alcoholic beverages is something not easily replicated without alcohol. Alcohol is a solvent that releases flavours and it also stimulates our senses and is easily noticeable through sensory stimuli like tingling, sharpness and temperature.
In the absence of alcohol, other chemesthetic raw materials like chili, peppermint and some acids can be used to fill in the sensory gap. Thanks to our strong capabilities in maturation, maceration, blending and seasoning, combined with our knowledge of producing spice distillates and extracts, we are an opportune position to develop also alcohol-free alternatives to our main spirit brands. We offer a sober way for toasting and enjoying familiar drinks.
What would your favorite alcohol-free beverage be?
Is it the perfect mocktail or schnapps? Could it be consumed like aquavit or gin? Give us some feedback what you think is still missing in the market and your bar cabinet: what would help you be the perfect host for your sober friends?
This blog was originally published as a LinkedIn article by Laura Koivisto.