A combination of berries, cocoa, honey and other botanicals has been blended in the Cognac region to create a sophisticated new low-proof drink.
Launching in the UK, Woodstar is produced for its owners by a fourth-generation cognac maker using natural spring water from the heart of Cognac in south-west France.
While it looks like wine, it is a complex blend of Amazonian açai berry, French blackcurrants, other berries, orange blossom honey, cocoa and other botanicals.
It is nearly alcohol free at just 1% ABV, which gives it greater depth and subtlety of flavours to allow it to be sipped and savoured.
It has been created to appeal to the growing number of consumers who are looking to limit their intake of alcohol but find the alternatives unsatisfactory because they are too dull or too sweet.
The blend is low in calories and high in açai berries which are full of antioxidants, which will also appeal to more health-conscious drinkers.
Simon Baldry, one of the founders, said: “Woodstar has character on the nose, lightness in the mouth and a dry finish that suits a sophisticated palate. It actually has more complexity than the average table wine.
“At 1% proof there is no other drink on the market quite like it. Woodstar is all about freedom and choice. It is for people who want to get a lot more out of their day without being impaired, enjoying the company of people who may be drinking alcohol without any sense of being left out or on the outside. It is also a great beverage for anyone who is considering their overall wellness regime.”
Woodstar is named after a tiny hummingbird called the Amethyst Woodstar which lives in the Amazon rainforest where the açai berries grow wild. The bird is light and colourful like the drink.
The joint venture behind the new brand was formed by Simon with another English entrepreneur, Andrew Baker, and distiller Gilles Merlet, a member of the family behind cognac and liqueur producer Distillerie Merlet & Fils.
Gilles said: “We go to great lengths to craft such a distinctive drink, with just a hint of alcohol. The process takes a minimum of 12 weeks in our family distillery near Cognac, releasing all of its natural colour and flavour.”
Initially the product is targeted at restaurants, high-quality specialist retailers and online. Simon added: “Woodstar is very much a drink for people who love socialising and enjoying every moment without having to rely on alcohol to impress.”