Waitrose boosts no and low with upmarket RTD

UK retailer Waitrose has boosted its booming no and low offering with the launch of Nogroni – a booze-free twist on the classic Negroni cocktail that contains Seedlip and its sister brand, non-alcoholic aperitif brand, Æcorn.

Waitrose said the drink, a contemporary take on a classic cocktail”containing Seedlip Spice 94, Æcorn Bitter and Æcorn Aromatic, had “a sophisticated profile with all the strong, complex bitter notes and iconic red hue”. It will be listed in 150 stores, retailing for £12.

The Nogroni was first debuted a The World’s Best Bar Awards in London in 2017, using Seedlip and has gained listings across the on-trade.

The retailer’s no and low alcohol buyer Alex Valentine said the category had gone from strength to strength over the last year, rising 64%, and it was excited to add to the variety of products to choose from.

Last year Waitrose reported 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, with searches via its website also increasing by an impressive by 2,140%. These have continued to rise again this year, up 75% compared to last, it added today.

The retailer was the first to stock Æcorn, the first non-alcoholic aperitif brand, which launched last year. The range comprises three drinks – dry, bitter and aromatic – that were inspired by 17th century herbal remedies and made from English-grown Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay grapes.

It was set up as a sister brand to Seedlip headed up by the former head of spirit creation at LVMH Moët Hennessy, Claire Smith-Warner.

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 in July 2016,  before the giant drinks group bought a “significant” majority stake in the non-alcoholic ‘spirit’ brand last August.

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