Britvic launches ‘zero-proof’ drink from new incubator company

Thomas & Evans

Britvic Soft Drinks has launched a new “zero-proof” drink from its new incubator company set up to create products aimed at adults.

The gently sparkling and aromatic Thomas & Evans No 1 is a blend of over 20 ingredients, with aromas of apple, elderflower, citrus peel and oak and flavours of citrus peel and green fruits.

It is made with steam-distilled botanicals and green fruit juices filtered through silver birch charcoal. No sugars or sweeteners are added to the juice blend.

Available in 330ml bottles, it has been developed by Britvic’s WiseHead Productions which was set up by the soft drinks giant to innovate in premium drinks for adults.

WiseHead co-founder Ounal Bailey, director of adult portfolio brands and new ventures at Britvic, said: “Britvic has a long-standing history of innovation and WiseHead Productions echoes this spirit of progression in the drinks industry.

“I am delighted to announce T&E No 1 as our first release from WiseHead Productions because I feel passionately that non-drinkers at social occasions should enjoy exceptional drinks that are creatively crafted. T&E No 1 is light and refreshing with a depth of flavour that will delight even the most discerning palates.”

Nigel Paine, commercial director at Britvic, added: “WiseHead Productions exemplifies Britvic’s spirit of innovation and creativity. Ounal and her team have understood consumers to deliver the exceptional non-alcoholic drinking experience they expect and demand. We are confident T&E No 1 is going to reinvent the marketplace.”

The inspiration behind T&E No 1 stems from its namesakes whose story was uncovered in the Britvic archives. William Thomas and William Evans, business partners in the 1880s, were inspired by the growing temperance movement of the time and prospered by making drinks to sell in public houses as non-alcoholic alternatives. They developed a range of brands, including Thomas & Evans and Welsh Hills – the latter became Corona in the 1920s. The company was bought by Britvic in 1987.

T&E No 1’s subtle sweetness occurs naturally from the fruit extracts used, and it contains only 53 calories when served in a 175ml glass.

It is categorised as a “zero-proof” drink rather than a soft drink – part of an emerging category of non-alcoholic products made using the same processes as alcoholic ones.

Its perfect serve is with ice in a large wine glass, garnished with a thin slice of green apple and a sprig of rosemary.

Tasting note by drinks writer Alice Lascelles
Appearance/aroma: Pale gold with a gentle effervescence that releases a tantalising burst of botanical aromas including elderflower, ginger, dried citrus peels and a hint of the bitter rootsiness to come.

Palate: The first thing that hits is the fizz – a burst of pleasingly prickly effervescence that carries the flavours to every corner of the palate. Elderflower and apple give this a fragrant sweetness that’s summery and mouth-watering, rather than syrupy, while warmer notes of powdered ginger, and dried orange peels lend it a spicy dryness. As the sweetness disperses, a more roots-y, bitter side emerges – sage-like wormwood, liquorice root and something nutty and powdery like ginseng – which are subtle but persistent, lingering long after the more fruity/fresh characteristics have subsided. The finish is relatively dry and clean, with very little of the cloying-ness you often find in adult soft drinks.

It layers up flavours of ginger and elderflower with the kind of more complex botanical notes you might find in a bianco vermouth. Unusually aromatic on the nose, too. That combination of pleasing appearance, interesting, complex aromas and length on the palate encourages you to eke out the pleasure at each, sensory step.

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