Now’s the time to make the most of no & low, says Caleño Founder

As hospitality venues across England prepare to open their doors again on Monday 17th May, Ellie Webb, the founder of a leading non-alcoholic spirit Caleño, is urging owners and landlords around the country to be ready to cater for and make the most of a new type of customer: the mindful drinker.

There’s no doubt that consumer drinking habits have shifted since early 2020. Not only has the pandemic meant that people have been forced to drink at home more, but what and how they drink has seen a dramatic change too. And while some have seen their alcohol consumption increase, many others have brought more balance and mindfulness to their drinking. The numbers speak for themselves:

  • Sales of low & no alcohol drinks were up 31% year on year in November 2020, making them the fastest growing area of adult soft drinks[1]
  • Over a third of UK adults have consumed a low or no alcoholic drink at home, nearly doubling for ‘Gen Z’ and ‘Millennials’[2]
  • A record 6.5m UK adults took part in Dry January this year[3]
  • 76% of consumers say they will continue to drink low- or no-alcohol beverages “as regularly or more regularly than they do now in 2021”[4]

There’s also evidence that consumers are not simply either a drinker or teetotal, with a large part of the low and no market consisting of consumers who also drink alcohol, with a quarter (25%) of UK adults “often” or “sometimes” drinking low and no as well as alcohol[5].

Caleño, the premium non-alcoholic spirit made in Britain and launched in 2019, has seen its sales take off in the past year, with sales in the first quarter of 2021 up by 251% YOY and forecast to continue growing at this rate for the rest of the year.

Ellie Webb came up with the idea for Caleño during Dry January a few years ago, when she was on a night out with friends and realised there were not many premium non-alcoholic drinks available. Since then a lot has changed, with the non-alcoholic market booming and many good quality, premium, non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits now available.

Ellie says: “Consumers have been discovering these amazing non-alcoholic drinks during lockdown and now it’s key for the on-trade to also provide these drinks outside the home.  As we head towards a post-lockdown summer of going out and socialising again, I believe the on-trade has a brilliant opportunity to diversify their range and boost revenue at traditionally lower-footfall periods by introducing a selection of premium alcohol-alternatives. Venues that add to their repertoire with premium alcohol-alternatives like Caleño will stand the biggest chances of attracting a wider variety of customers, while making their drinks range much more accessible to all.”

Ellie’s top tips to boosting your alcohol-free offer:

  • Create a dedicated early evening ‘Joyful Hour’ offer for no and low drinks, to raise awareness, encourage trial, and earlier bookings. We recommend 5-6pm.
  • Ensure your staff are clued up on all of your non-alcoholic options so they can upsell customers from soft drinks to a premium non-alcoholic cocktail that will deliver higher cash margins.
  • Consumers are mostly looking to curb their alcohol-intake mid-week, so promote non-alcoholic drinks offers Mondays to Wednesdays.
  • Bump up your lunchtime bookings by creating dedicated ‘alcohol-free’ lunchtime occasions and offers, like ‘Boozeless Brunches’. 

Laura Willoughby from Club Soda, the Mindful Drinking Movement, says: “Boy do we miss our pubs! We are all ready to see friends and socialise again. The good news is that going out can be a great experience for everyone regardless of the strength of the drink in your glass. For venues this means having a menu that caters for the quick lunchtime catch-up when you need a break from the home office, and making sure drivers have something better than tap water. We are all ready to invest in reigniting our social life, and pubs and bars can now give people as many options as possible to do that. With so many low and no alcohol drinks available, from beers and lagers to premium spirits and cocktails, it’s possible to have a drinks menu that makes your venue a destination.”

“We’ve created a free helpful guide for venues, with advice from venues across the UK on how to integrate low and no drinks into your menu. We believe it’s all about making people feel welcome whatever they want to drink and ensuring everyone has a fantastic choice.”

Non-alcoholic spirit Caleño is available in two flavours:

Caleño Light & Zesty, 50 cl and Caleño Dark & Spicy, 50 cl

For more information visit

[1] The Grocer, Dec 2020
[2] SIBA Report 2020
[3] Alcohol Change 2021
[4] The Drinks Business, Dec 2020
[5] Portman Group Report 2021

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