The owner of UK brewery Cloudwater is developing a low-calorie soda brand
One of the UK’s most revered independent brewers is developing a new range of low calorie sodas with “all the flavour” of craft beer.
Paul Jones, the owner of Manchester-based brewery Cloudwater, is testing out a range of sodas that use ingredients from the brewing process, such as hops, with “none of the alcohol”.
The Good Call Soda range currently comprises of two no-alcohol drinks; a soda flavoured with green tea and simcoe hops; and a “mango and citra sour” using citra hops. The 400ml cans have been designed by Textbook studio, the same company Cloudwater calls on for its traditional beer range.
Jones debuted a test batch of the sodas at a festival in London this weekend dedicated to low and no-alcohol drinks.
The Mindful Drinking festival, which was launched in August 2017 by moderate drinking initiative Club Soda, celebrates innovation in low and no-ABV drinks; a small but fast-growing niche in the market. Club Soda is a movement which has a mission to “create a world where nobody has to feel out of place if they are not drinking alcohol,” according to the company’s website.
Jones told the drinks business that his team are still in the product development stage and have not launched the soda brand in retail or the on-trade yet, but said he hopes to have them “available on both draft and in cans from August onwards.”
He told db that he’s been working on Good Call Sodas since 2018, and has spent the past six weeks testing recipe ideas. Chris Shearston of Texbook Studio told db that the range has been designed as a separate entity from Cloudwater.
“It’s been remarkably smooth running so far,” he said, “but there are some challenging flavours and ingredients I’d love to work with in the future that remain rather technical puzzles at the moment.”
Jones explained that the sodas are being developed as a separate brand to avoid “confusion” between the non-alcoholic products and Cloudwater’s own beer range.
“From minors to people avoiding alcohol for health or religious reasons, the risk of confusion on a retail shelf, in a bar fridge, or even online isn’t one we’re happy to take.”
Cloudwater was the first UK brewery in history to enter the top 10 on the RateBeer Best awards, and was crowned second best in the world – making it the best in Europe – in 2017.
But the brewery owner said that his soft drinks range is aimed at a wider audience than the average RateBeer user.
He said it is “important that we can lead with a clear message that doesn’t complicate or dilute what we do at Cloudwater Brew Co.”
Jones said the Cloudwater team are also working on a herbal tea blend and another fruited sour soda, but also hopes there will be seasonal and one-off releases in the Good Call Soda brand.
“It’s going to be a thrill to bring the passion and experiences we’ve all had in beer to small batch soda making!”
Last year, California-based brewery Lagunitas launched a non-alcoholic sparkling water inspired by its flagship IPA beer.
Attractively-named “Hop Water”, it contains no alcohol, no calories, and zero carbohydrates, but is “made using everything we know about hops,” according to the Heineken-owned beer brand’s website.
The news comes as several start-ups and drinks firms have diversified into the sparkling water category, as global consumption of alcohol has seen a steady decline over the past five years.
Japanese drinks giant Suntory also announced plans to sell a clear, non-alcoholic ‘beer’ in May 2018, packaged in a plastic bottle which it hopes will be particularly popular with office workers.