The softer side…

Everyone loves a tipple on a night out…right? Wrong! Far from the media penned 'binge drinkers' of the early noughties, young adults are increasingly steering clear of alcohol during a night out. This is providing bars, restaurants and drinks brands scope to shake up the soft drinks category, exciting dwellers with a more discerning offering than the usual cola, lemonade and orange juice selection.

Steering innovation in the category, you only had to look around the International Food & Drink Exhibition at ExCel London last month to see the huge number of natural and low sugar soft drink launches. The stand out for me was Kitsch, all natural sodas. The brand's Rhubarb & Thai Basil and Cucumber & Fennel variants focus on freshly pressed natural ingredients with limited process, to deliver a refreshing experience. Its cleanly branded brown bottle, even gives it a boozy feel, meaning non-drinkers no longer stand out from their booze-guzzling buddies.

Craft, natural and botanical are the buzzwords to watch with this trend, but it's not just niche start up brands that are recognising and maximising the 'soft' opportunity. Established brands like Belvoir and Franklin & Sons have broadened their ranges and even our client base is developing its offering to appeal to fresher, less sweet palates. Red Bull has introduced a selection of Mocktail serves for the on-trade and DaVinci Gourmet has created a series of craft soda and lemonade recipes using its new Botanical Syrups and Sicilian Lemonade.

When planning your summer drinks menu, consider incorporating some fresh flavours to your soft offering, and refresh your booze-free sales, and with the warmer months fast approaching, now couldn't be a better time.

Written by Carly Smith, Account Director

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