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Collider non-alcoholic adaptogenic beer launches in the UK

One of the UK’s first adaptogen-infused, non-alcoholic beers has now been launched in Britain by Collider Brew Co.

The 0.5% ABV beer includes a blend of adaptogens (plants and mushrooms that purportedly help your body respond to stress, anxiety, fatigue and overall well being) and has been designed to appeal to non-drinkers and those seeking to reduce their alcohol consumption.

Collider will be available in two styles: Unwind Lager and Unwind Session Pale, both made using Collider Brew Co’s signature blend of adaptogens as well as British malted barley and wheat, hops, yeast and water.

The adaptogens are said to work in a variety of ways to produce anti-anxiety and calming effects on both the brain and body and include Ashwagandha, which assists in reducing the stress hormone cortisol, L-theanine to increase dopamine and regulate serotonin production to promote relaxation and improve cognitive function and Lion’s Mane to help enhance production of nerve growth.

Unwind Lager has been described as “crisp, dry and full bodied with a malty and lightly hopped refreshing finish” and Unwind Session Pale is described as “citrus and hop forward (with) notes of stone fruit and florals on the nose with a dry malty finish”.

The launch occurred after Pale Fox Wines co-founder Harry Cooke who is responsible for brands such as Pale Fox Prosecco and Artigianale Wine was formerly a director for The Sustainable Spirits Co, said that he noticed a gap in the market and, despite there being many non-alcoholic beers available to consumers, none offer the additional effects of those containing alcohol.

Speaking to the drinks business, Cooke revealed that “Collider is contract brewed according to recipes and adaptogenic infusion processes developed in-house” but said that “an NDA prevents either party from disclosing the name of the brewery” but hinted that the contract brewery that makes Collider “isn’t in London, but it is within the UK”.

According to Cooke, Collider beer is made using “the same traditional techniques as used to make alcoholic beer” but “due to the use of special yeast strains, reducing the malt content and use of temperature control, the fermentation process ends early, the result being a 0.5% beer, with a flavour profile as close to an alcoholic beer as possible”.

In terms of funding the start-up of the business, Cooke told db: “We raised SEIS/EIS investment from a mix of friends, family and angel investors” and explained “we hit our minimum funding requirement within about two weeks of starting our raise and have been overfunding since then”. He added: “Technically we are still in our current round, however we are planning to end this round shortly, before raising at a higher valuation in 12 to 18 months time.”

Cooke added that “Collider offers drinkers delicious tasting beers with sensory, mood boosting benefits, without the hangover and negative effects from alcohol”.

Cooke admitted: “I’ve been pretty amazed at how many businesses have reached out (including one incredibly large pub group) enquiring about supply, some of whom would require much more beer than we can currently supply. We are currently only selling through our website, but we plan to roll out to select retail sites and on-trade locations in the coming months and then gradually build up our client base in line with our increasing production capabilities.”

Regarding plans for the future, Cooke told db that “the aim is to be the largest independent non-alcoholic beer in the UK” and said: “I don’t see our product as part of a different category to regular non-alcoholic beers, we are just ‘non-alcoholic beer plus’.Obviously it’s very very early days and there are some great businesses in the space that have a head start on us, but we believe we have a great brand and a product that solves a genuine problem” and observed how “if we execute well then I believe we have a good chance of being at the forefront of both the growing non-alcoholic beer sector as well as the functional beverage space”.

Where will the beers be positioned? Cooke revealed that he primarily sees the beer “next to the other non-alcoholic beers in the supermarket” but quickly explained “that’s not to say that I don’t think health food shops, gyms, etc. wouldn’t be a good market for us; quite the opposite”. Plus, he pointed out that “in terms of high-end bars and clubs, it’s always good to get the industry cognoscenti on board early doors” and because of this, part of the business’s “initial on-trade sales strategy will be targeting the higher end venues” although he stated that “ultimately we don’t see Collider as an exclusive or aspirational product. We want to be able to hit economies of scale that allow us to price the product as competitively as possible – although adaptogens aren’t cheap”.

Describing where things stand right now for alcohol-free beer, Cooke explained: “In terms of brand positioning, a lot of the non-alcoholic beers on the market focus on the oblique benefits of drinking something without alcohol. A lot of brands in the space have focused on all the things you can do if you don’t have a hangover: cycling, running etc. That makes a lot of sense and has worked well but we are in a position to focus on the product benefits themselves when marketing Collider. Yes, it means you don’t wake up with a hangover, but the experience of drinking Collider is not just about abstaining from something bad, it’s about actively consuming something good.”

Collider beers will be available to buy in 330ml bottles (£32 for 12) and 330ml cans (£30 for 12) via the Collider webshop.

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