Pernod Ricard ventures into non-alcoholic ‘gin’

Pernod Ricard has signed a deal to launch and distribute South African/Swedish brand Ceder’s in the UK, which describes itself as a “non-alcoholic alt-gin made with classic gin and South African botanicals”.

The non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ was launched in early 2017 by husband and wife team Craig Hutchison (South African) and Maria Sehlstrom (Swedish).

The brand sources many of its botanicals, including Rooibos (the leaves are used to make redbush tea) and Buchu (shrub used in fragrance and medicine) from a valley in the Cederberg mountains in South Africa’s Western Cape.

The distilled botanicals are then blended with Swedish water before also being bottled in Sweden.

The range currently comprises three expressions: Ceder’s Classic “akin to a classic alt-gin”, with a flavours of juniper, coriander, geranium and Cape floral fynbos; Ceder’s Wild, which contains juniper, ginger, clove and rooibos; and Ceder’s Crisp, made with juniper, citrus, cucumber and camomile.

Laurent Pillet, managing director at Pernod Ricard UK, commented: “This is a growing and exciting area for Pernod Ricard UK and we are delighted to offer our customers and consumers a non-alcoholic gin alternative.

“It’s our ambition to continue to give consumers more choice and to satisfy the growing demand for no alcohol options. We are delighted to work alongside Ceder’s to offer exciting new premium serves to UK consumers”.

The bottles have an RRP of £19.99 per 50cl and will be available from Sainsbury’s and The Whisky Exchange from the 22 and 7 July respectively, with more listings expected in due course.

Craig Hutchison, founder and managing director of Ceder’s, added: “We are proud to launch Ceder’s and have realised our ambition to create a handcrafted alt-gin with natural botanical distillates and extracts.

“We want to satisfy those looking for a non-alcoholic serve without sacrificing premium and sophisticated flavour experiences”.

While Pernod Ricard will distribute Ceder’s, it has not bought a stake in the brand.

Ceder’s is not the first non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ to be picked up by one of the larger alcohol companies.

In 2016, Distill Ventures, Diageo’s spirits innovation division, took a minority stake in distilled non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ Seedlip.

Last year, Diageo also established a fund for to mentor and support non-alcoholic drinks, offering four entrepreneurs £10,000 to create booze-free products.

In January this year, London-based retailer Borough Wines also threw its cap into the ring, launching an alcohol free ‘gin’ called Labdanum which it claims mimics the aromatic profile and complexity of the spirit, priced at £20 a bottle.

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