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Low-ABV : The Future of Drinking

Saturday, July 17, 2021, 14:29 Hrs  [IST]
Asmita Mukherjee | Hyderabad

A survey says, due to the pandemic, people nowadays are getting more health-conscious. They are becoming increasingly mindful about what they eat and drink, along with trying to keep a check on the food and drink sources. Keeping up the times, low-ABV, containing between four and seven percent alcohol by volume has started to gain traction in the market. 

Low-ABV beverages fulfil the trending urge for healthy drinking, resulting in a good foothold in the beverage market. The low-ABV beverage category typically includes beer, wine, vermouth, and cider. According to experts, non-alcoholic spirits are quite different—they are mixers with a lot of flavours that contain no additional alcohol, which means that even children or pregnant women can enjoy a mocktail made with them. Home mixologists can use non-alcoholic mixers in the same way as they would use vodka, gin, or any other distilled liquor.

In India, low-ABV is now gaining momentum, due to various reasons, out of which one is healthy drinking. While speaking on the future of light drinks, Ajay Shetty, Founder-Director, Salud Beverages said, “We have witnessed bartenders and consumers enjoying the chance to get more creative and have fun outside the norms that hard alcohol allows. Low ABV drinks are a lot more versatile in their flavour profile, and based on what we have seen so far, it seems to bring out the experimental side for all who enjoy a drink now and then. I feel this is more than a trend at this point. Low ABV is the future of drinking. Health and social responsibility are the two things, high on everyone's mind lately, and this is not about to change anytime soon.”

Experts say that the fundamental difference between traditional and low-ABV cocktails is alcohol content. Low ABV cocktails contain a far smaller percentage of alcohol, but are still fully packed with flavour and nuance, and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Elaborating on the reasons behind low-ABV replacing traditional drinks, Shetty said, “People have become more socially responsible and health-conscious, and low ABV ingredients are easier on your system, and the flavours tend to be more vibrant as well. They're also very popular with new drinkers because they're so easy to drink. Ready-to-drink cocktails in a bottle, make it very convenient to buy and consume, contributing to an increase in market share over a more traditional fare.” 

India’s ace mixologist, Yangdup Lama, who is also the Product Head of Jimmy’s Cocktails shared his thoughts about low-ABV cocktails, by commenting, “It is an interesting trend that has started to take shape in the last couple of years and with a more conscious consumer, this will be on the rise. I guess low ABV cocktails are going to be the next big thing, because the inclination for the consumer is more towards taste and appearance, and not so much, on the strength of the drink. Also, the younger consumer is looking for an easy and less complex drinking experience along with variety.”

Pointing out the impact of COVID-19 in the popularity surge of low-ABV, Shetty said, “The shift in the mindset of the average consumer to a healthier lifestyle has influenced a surge in popularity over the last year in particular, especially with so many people stuck at home. The world as we know it has changed, and so have our drinking patterns. With virtual socialising and more unstructured days, people are drinking more often. Low ABV drinks allow them to enjoy chilling out, de-stressing and connecting in a healthy and socially responsible way.”

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