Insights from Drizly’s Top 5 Non-Alcoholic Spirits Brands
Dry January is poised to be another big period of growth for non-alcoholic spirits brands
Though non-alcoholic spirits account for just 0.3 percent of the liquor category, it doesn’t mean retailers should write them off. Year over year, the category is growing rapidly — by 200 percent in share and 290 percent in sales in 2021 — making it one of the fastest-growing subcategories on Drizly.
The majority of products in the non-alcoholic spirits category are made to mimic traditional spirits that can be used to create mocktails, and gin is the clear winner when it comes to non-alcoholic alternatives. Of the top 10 non-alcoholic SKUs on Drizly, four are modeled after gin, and Ceder’s Drinks — the only new entrant to the top five list of non-alcoholic brands on Drizly — is entirely focused on producing non-alcoholic gins. Whiskey alternatives are also popular, in addition to substitutions for aperitifs that work in spritzes, like Aperol.
“The mocktail trend is one key driver of this trend, as consumers seek to recreate their favorite drinks that are alcohol-free and more health-conscious,” says Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights. “Innovation in this category has also driven growth as new product releases more closely align to the quality and taste of standard spirits offerings.”
While it’s easy to assume that non-alcoholic spirits offer less value to retailers when it comes to cash flow, the average price per unit of non-alcoholic spirits ($28.60) is actually slightly higher than the average price of liquor overall ($28.10), indicating that customers are willing and happy to pay a premium for this category.
The gender split for non-alcoholic spirits drinkers is pretty even. Fifty-two percent share of Drizly shoppers in this category in 2021 to date are female and the majority — 69 percent of share — are millennials. Gen X accounts for 22 percent share and the trend hasn’t yet caught on much with Gen Z or baby boomers, together accounting for just eight percent share of non-alcoholic sales in 2021.
Retailers in Denver, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. especially should keep an eye on this trend as these markets over-index on non-alcoholic spirits sales compared to overall sales on Drizly.
The category is primed to get off to a hot start in 2022 thanks to the dry January trend, which means the time is now for retailers to stock up on non-alcoholic spirits, starting with the five brands on Drizly that are leading the way in this burgeoning category.
“In 2021, the peak share for non-alcoholic spirits through the year was in January, suggesting that dry January will drive strong sales for this category,” says Paquette.
Launched in 2015, Seedlip is a pioneer of the non-alcoholic spirits movement and also held the top spot on this list last year. Its SKUs also make up the top three non-alcoholic spirits SKUs on Drizly in 2021 to date. Relying on natural ingredients, Seedlip is led by Grove 42 (a citrus blend of orange, lemon peel, lemongrass, and ginger), Garden 108 (a blend of peas and garden herbs), and Spice 94 (a blend of allspice and cardamom). The brand has even published its own non-alcoholic cocktail book.
Ritual Zero Proof
This Chicago-based brand launched in 2019 and uses all-natural botanicals in its liquor replacement products. In 2021, Ritual Zero Proof replaced Lyre’s as the No. 2 best-selling non-alcoholic spirits brand on Drizly, three SKUs in the category’s top six. The best-selling Ritual Zero Proof SKUs are the Gin Alternative, Tequila Alternative, and Whiskey Alternative spirits, though they also make a Rum Alternative.
An Australian company founded in 2019, Lyre’s is led by the Dry London Spirit (modeled after a classic gin) and American Malt (modeled after a classic Bourbon malt), but the brand offers one of the widest product ranges in the non-alcoholic space, including alternatives to absinthe, tequila, Aperol, and even sparkling wine.
This is the only brand on Drizly’s top five list that was born out of a traditional distillery setting. Based in Oregon, the team at Random Distillery created Dhos, a line of non-alcoholic spirits made from organic ingredients, in late 2020. The brand’s top seller on Drizly is Dhos Gin Free (which is sugar-free and zero calories), followed by Bittersweet, a low-calorie aperitif. Dhos also produces Orange, a sugar-free, low-cal triple sec replacement.
Ceder’s is new to the top five list for non-alcoholic spirits brands, knocking off Spirity Cocktails, which held the No. 5 spot in 2020. The South Africa-based brand founded in 2017 specializes in non-alcoholic gin botanicals and produces four flavors. Ceders’ best-selling product on Drizly is the Wild Non-Alcoholic Gin with notes of juniper, spice, and rooibos.