The Non Drinking Trend

https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomaspellechia/2019/02/20/lowno-alcohol-beverages-are-in-the-worldwide-future-says-latest-report/#23050ee81c85

With more "non drinking" happening, what are folks doing with their beverage programs these days? Would love to hear about choices being offered to the non drinking public.

  • We have a temperance program on our menu. Our recent menu included a mocktail pomegranate mule, blueberry lemonade, virgin margarita, and a bunch of takes on gin drinks using seedlip nonalcoholic spirit. We switch our menu up pretty regularly but it's an easy way to be hospitable and offer guests something non-alcoholic to drink. I remember when I was a kid and always getting virgin daiquiris because I wanted to be "cool" like my mom and older sisters, so I try to remember that when formulating the drinks, they need the same standard of quality and garnishes as regular cocktails. During graduation season I keep sparkling grape juice on hand for guests who want to enjoy the toast but may not be old enough to drink, are pregnant, driving or just do not indulge in alcohol. Non-alcoholic beverage programs can be profitable if marketed and executed properly. I try to create clever names and ultimately just have fun with it. 

  • We have a soft cocktail menu that changes 4x per year (it, like the cocktail list and wine pairings, are tied to the menu and all change simultaneously). We also offer a non-alcoholic pairing that consists of tea-based soft cocktails, infusions, and other proprietary beverages. We also have an extensive coffee and tea program with rare/premium offerings alongside more standard options, and recently debuted cold-brewed single origin black, green, and oolong iced teas. 

    I think this is important in two directions, both hospitality and business. On the one hand, you want everyone who walks in the door to have the opportunity to drink something special, and having speciality non-alcoholic options makes them feel like their preferences are being given weight. On the business side of things, if coke is $2 and soft cocktails are $8, that drives revenue, and ideally also makes people want to return.

  • We are offering seedlip grove 42 as a na stand in for gin/vodka for cocktails so we reproduce several classics with it. We also label our list as Zero Proof as I think Mocktails is a little dated. We have seen good feedback from guests so far. 

  • It’s not on my menu, but I recommend non-alchoholic mojitos to all of my NA drinkers. One of the more experienced servers, places fresh fruit from the bar in a glass and adds soda water. 

  • Last restaurant I bartended at offered fresh lemonade/Arnold palmers with a variety of fruit purées/pomegranate juice for like $4 which were especially popular during lunch

  • We've had a lot of success with our N/A program at San Ysidro Ranch centered around the Seedlip products.

    Like others have mentioned, they were typically takes on G+T, Mojitos and the like, incorporating cucumbers, mint etc.

    A tremedous way to increase average checks in the Spa as well - one revenue center that often gets overlooked in the overall discussion on beverage programs.

  • , I'd love to hear more about your (award-winning!) program.

  • I offered a Non-Alcohlic pairing to the tasting menu at my last employment.  The feedback was great.  We offered tea based cocktails, juice from Navarro Vineyards (Pinot Noir, Gewurz), and of course Seedlip.  Which I think is a great product.  However, one thing I will mention.  We should be aware of why a guest is having a non-alcoholic beverage.  I made a simple gin and tonic like drink with the seedlip and added a few vegetable garnishes that matched the vegetable.  The guests said they enjoyed it but they were recovering alcoholics and the drink was a little to close to the real thing.  

    In the end, they appreciated the effort but just some food for thought for everyone.

  • We have actually seen an increase in alcohol sales this year. We update our menu 3-4 times a year and usually have 10 full proof cocktails, 2-3 session cocktails and 3-4 mocktails. We put equal time and energy into creating all of our drinks, and we've gotten a lot of positive feedback about giving people the choice without feeling left out. 

  • I just stepped into a new position, but we’re offering a seasonal lemonade flavor, menu n/a cocktails (which I prefer to do), and honestly will still make something upon request. As long as I can generate revenue and meet & surpass guests’ expectations, I am happy. Just started playing with the Seedlip products. I’m interested in seeing who else emerges with n/a distillates in the near future.

  • Hi Stacy! We have a lot of fun with our non-alcoholic program at Attica. We have so many cool native ingredients at our finger tips -- finger lime, desert lime, lemon aspen, davidson plum, quandong, lilly pilly, muntries, etc. -- that we always go to first. We do lots of fresh juice, teas, verjus, as well as incorporating in some existing non-alc products like Seedlip and some local non-alc beer and sodas, but always mixing them to create our own concoctions. We do a pairing with our tasting menu, as well as a la carte options. 

    I think part of our success is the ability to incorporate the whole team into the creation. I think if the program falls squarely on the shoulders of the wine team, the bar team, or the kitchen, it can be a bit of a burden to keep the creativity and quality up. Different people take ownership of juicing, ordering for, and creating all our non-alc options, and as such, we can really create an excellent program.

    And as said well by Mia, the benefits are both to the guest and the business. Win win! 

  • I really enjoy using the non-alcoholic bitters from Fee Brothers for mocktails. There are a ton of different flavors that add a unique complexity to a beverage.