Waitrose launches Seedlip’s aperitif sister brand, Aecorn

Waitrose has launched Æcorn Aperitifs, the first non-alcoholic aperitif brand, which was established as a sister brand to Seedlip.

The drinks, which were inspired by 17th century herbal remedies, are made from English grow Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay grapes and comprise three skus –  dry, bitter, and aromatic – which will retail for £19.99 in the upmarket retailer. 

The retailer said sales of  no and low alcohol drinks had been rising for the past five years with last year seeing a 180% year-on-year increase, and searches via its website increase by 2,140% it said. There was also growing consumer interest in aperitifs it noted, with searches up 82%. 

“We know our customers are becoming more interested in no and low alcohol drinks, and the innovative flavours and techniques used in Æcorn will be able to offer them a premium non-alcoholic drinking experience,” Pierpaolo Petrassi MW, head of drinks buying at Waitrose & Partners said. 

Claire Warner, managing director of Æcorn Aperitifs added that the company was “thrilled” to be following in Seedlip’s footsteps and break new ground in the category they had created.

“Since Seedlip’s launch, the world of non-alcoholic has shown itself to be dynamic and exciting, and we hope that the introduction of Æcorn Aperitifs to Waitrose & Partners will now give everyone who is not drinking, a seat at the table,” she said.

Speaking to The Drinks Business last December, Warner said the drinks had been designed to be drunk with food.

The Dry aperitif combines clary sage & chamomile, with black tea, quassia & oak, the Bitter has citrus notes of grapefuit and orange with bay, quassia, honeycomb & oak, while the fuller-bodied Aromatic aperific combines smoked cherrywood, vanilla, kola nut & mediterranean citrus fruit, chinotto, with clove, cassia & oak.

Warner, who joined Seedlip in January 2018 before the new brand was launched in May, was previously the head of spirit creation at LVMH Moët Hennessy.

Seedlip launched its first botanical drink in 2015, and a year later was snapped up by the Diageo-funded spirits innovation group, Distill Ventures, who bought a minority stake in the business.

Today it was announced that Diageo has acquired a “significant” majority stake in the non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand and its sister brand Æcorn Aperitifs.

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