Can Non-alcoholic Beverages Impress Wine Aficionados? VE Refinery’s Guide to Stylish Alternatives
Non-alcoholic beverages are the fastest-growing segment in the adult beverage industry. The alcohol-free or dealcoholized wine sector is often marketed as a luxury drink, suitable for any occasion or event. But can they replace ‘real’ wine and impress wine aficionados?
What are non-alcoholic beverages?
Non-alcoholic beverages are typically drinks from which alcohol has been removed or in which alcohol was never present. They're crafted to maintain the drink's essence while steering clear of the adverse effects of alcohol. For instance, a non-alcoholic red wine alternative can offer the same health benefits as a regular red wine, and it can do so without disrupting your sleep cycle.
These are often referred to as alcohol-free, alcohol-removed, dealcoholized and zero-alcohol drinks. Usually, they are used interchangeably, but if you want to be more conscious about what you’re consuming, you should understand the subtle distinctions.
Non-alcoholic beverages V's Zero-Alcohol
The definition of non-alcoholic and alcohol-free tends to change depending on where you are. For example, in Europe, any drink that contains less than 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) is legally considered non-alcoholic or alcohol-free.
Now, you will be surprised to learn that certain non-alcoholic beverages do contain the smallest amount of alcohol, between 0.05% to 0.5%. So, if you’re apprehensive about trying any non-alcoholic and alcohol-free drinks let's put this into perspective with regular food items and condiments.
For example, soy sauce has up to 1.5% to 2% ABV, burger rolls contain up to 1.28% ABV and a very ripe banana can contain up to 0.6% ABV. But why is that? The alcohol in these items is a result of organic fermentation of sugar or ethanol fermentation. The yeast found in all of these items ferments the sugar into carbon dioxide and ethanol or alcohol.
Zero-alcohol beverages, on the other hand, contain less than 0.0% ABV, but the manner of branding can be consistent with an alcohol brand. For example, the Thomson & Scott Noughty Sparkling Chardonnay contains 0.0% alcohol, and its taste and presentation could have you thinking that you’re enjoying a regular sparkling wine.
Non-alcoholic Beverages Vs Dealcoholized Beverages
Unlike regular strength wines or beers that are high in caloric and alcoholic contents, dealcoholized beverages have a reduced amount of alcohol and often calories. What makes dealcoholized wine special is its production process.
To dealcoholize a beverage, it is put through vacuum distillation or reverse osmosis to remove the entirety or some of the alcoholic contents. Now, a common question arises, “If we remove alcohol from wine aren’t we just left with grape juice?”. The short answer is no. The longer answer is that, even though alcohol is removed from the wines, they retain their original flavour profiles and quality properties. Let’s figure out how:
Steam or vacuum distillation is the most common process of removing alcohol from alcoholic beverages. The beverage is boiled at 25°C-30°C because if the temperature increases, it can negatively impact the quality. So, the trick is to heat it in a vacuum, enabling the alcohol to evaporate at a much lower temperature.
The next one is reverse osmosis or filtration, where the beverage is forced through a membrane. The filter or membrane is so fine that only liquid properties like water and alcohol can pass through. The filtration process is repeated till only concentrated properties of the beverage are left, and then the water is added back in. The reverse osmosis (RO) membrane can reduce the alcohol concentration up to 0.5% ABV.
So, if you’re planning to avoid consuming alcohol for lifestyle or religious reasons, an alcohol-removed or non-alcoholic beverage is perfectly safe for you. But if you’re still unsure, then try zero-alcohol drinks that contain 0.0% alcohol.
The Rise of Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Now, when you order a non-alcoholic drink at a bar, you won’t have to choose between a Shirley Temple or a generic high-sugar fruit juice. But what’s with all the buzz around non-alcoholic drinks?
This buzz can be attributed to two factors - improved quality of the beverages and new interest in healthier alternatives. The adult beverage industry has been trying to develop quality alcohol-free drinks for decades. Yet they couldn’t get the concoction right due to a lack of innovative technology or access to the available ones. So, most of the time, the outcomes were subpar, resulting in overly sweet grape juice instead of premium alcohol-removed wines.
But now that the technology and machinery are easily accessible, independent distilleries can finally produce high-quality alcohol-removed alternatives. They're exploring diverse flavour profiles and enhancing the quality of these options, ensuring you can savour the drinks without any concern.
Switching to a non-alcoholic alternative also has a positive impact on the consumer’s physical and emotional state. Zero-alcohol drinks are excellent for helping to reduce alcohol consumption, leading to better sleep, regulated moods, and positive lifestyle choices.
And (surprisingly) it's not only the millennials or boomers making the responsible choices. Gen Z is one of the leading consumers of alcohol-free beverages worldwide, thanks to the sober-positive movement.
Emerging Swiss Sober Positive Movement
Sober-positive or sober-curious is different from abstaining from alcohol due to religious or health reasons. It is about making a conscious choice to reduce the intake of alcohol upon realising the negative impact it has been creating on your health and daily life. The sober-curious lifestyle is about detoxing from alcohol to explore its impact on the body and mind.
But sober curiosity or positivity is nothing new. For example, dry January, no alcohol November, or sober October are month-long challenges to abstain from alcohol. These challenges not only help you to abstain but also encourage you to focus on alternatives.
The sober-positive movement is also the perfect counter to the longest-running trend on and off social media - drinking. From bottomless mimosas on Sunday brunch to post-work beers, alcohol has become a social lubricant. People also report feeling ostracised if they don’t indulge in alcohol consumption, much like peer pressure among adolescents and teenagers. Yet, there’s still so much stigma around alcoholism and problem drinking.
Since the beginning of 2023, social media hashtags related to sobriety and no-alcohol or low-alcohol ‘NoLo’ have increased consistently. Netizens are more invested in following and adopting a sober-curious lifestyle than ever before. Following this cue, brands are offering premium and luxury drinks which are alcohol-free or alcohol-removed. Perfect to be paired with any occasion, foods and nibbles.
Non-Alcoholic Beverages from VE Refinery
Many brands are offering non-alcoholic beverages. Even though the industry is still in its nascent stage, the competition is quite intense. So, what differentiates VE Refinery from its contemporaries?
VE Refinery focuses on premium and stylish alternatives to high-quality drinks such as champagnes & wines, aperitifs, spirits, and more. Starting with a quest to find the best adult non-alcoholic alternative to champagne, it is now aiming to transform the drinking culture in Switzerland.
For example, creative alcohol alternative brands Thomson & Scott and Real Drinks Co. have entered the Swiss market via an exclusive partnership with VE Refinery. The former specialises in the finest quality of sparkling wines and champagnes. And the latter brings the highest quality of naturally fermented sparkling teas which offer a unique alternative to champagne & fine wine – with added health benefits.
Each of these VE Refinery offerings is either low in sugar content, plant-based, gluten-free or containing functional ingredients to enhance health and well-being. They are dedicated to making the adult beverage industry an inclusive one regardless of lifestyle choices, dietary restrictions, or religious practices.
Champagne and Sparkling wine alternatives
“First alcohol-free wine I’ve tried that doesn’t taste like cider or apple juice.” That’s what the customers of this very fine alternative to sparkling champagne have to say. This non-alcoholic sparkling wine made from 100% organic Chardonnay grapes is also certified vegan and is suited to all celebrations. With only 14 kcal in each glass, it's perfect if you’re health conscious—a true zero-alcohol option for those who don’t need alcohol to have fun.
“It tastes so real and even better than the real stuff”, Thomson & Scott Noughty’s sparkling Rosé gets glowing reviews from consumers. The perfect celebratory bottle for anyone on the hunt for a delicate and fruity sparkling wine. This alcohol-free Sparkling Rosé wine made from 100% organic Tempranillo grapes will keep you company through all the festivities and ensure that you wake up with no hangover in sight. Loved by wine enthusiasts, it also contains 0.0% alcohol and is certified vegan and gluten-free. As with the sparkling Chardonnay from Thomson & Scott Noughty, this non-alcoholic wine is also suitable for expectant and nursing mothers.
The Dry Dragon by Real Drinks Co. is the perfect alternative to champagne if you are usually partial to a sparkling dry wine. With notes of honeydew melon and the taste of sweet lemon and grapefruit, the nutty finish of this drink will keep you coming back for another sip. It’s perfectly suited to an elegant pallet – here’s looking at you wine connoisseurs. Real Drinks Co. uses a natural fermentation process using live cultures, sugar, water, and the finest selection of loose-leaf teas. Nothing is removed and nothing is added. Each bottle of this exquisite non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternative is carefully crafted for responsible consumption.
Naturally fermented sparkling tea as an alternative to champagne? At REAL they craft beautiful drinks that don't conform. REAL Drinks deliver on flavour, inspire passion and garner respect. They believe that life is for living, for enjoying the moments - however big or small. Those moments deserve a drink that is extraordinary, even without the alcohol. Peony Blush’s unique flavour profile and premium quality make it an exciting and creative non-alcoholic addition to your celebrations. Made with White Peony Blush loose leaves, this drink will tease you with its rich summer flavours. The luscious tones of yoghurt with the taste of buttery complexity make this fermented tea a must-try for every wine aficionado exploring a mindful moment.
Whether a wine connoisseur or a teetotaller, you must have heard about the delicacy that is Darjeeling tea. is famous worldwide for its intense aroma and spicy and fruity flavours. Now, imagine the acidic flavours of peach and rhubarb and the spicy undertones of this tea extracted to craft the most delicious bottle of alcohol-free fermented sparkling tea. That’s the precision Real Drinks Co. uses to create the heavenly blend of non-alcoholic Royal Flush.
Non-alcoholic Red Wine alternatives
A glass of Red (wine) before bed keeps your heart happy and soul nourished, or so you believe. But did you know the latest medical research says even a little alcohol before bed can significantly reduce your sleep quality? Sure, you’ll fall asleep quickly, but your REM sleep will be affected. Rest assured, Thomson & Scott's Noughty Dealcoholized Syrah is the solution. With a mere 14 kcal per glass, it emulates the wine-drinking experience while minimizing alcohol's negative impact on your well-being. Cheers to this non-alcoholic red wine!
Non-alcoholic Rosé alternative
This Still Rosé alternative from Thomson & Scott is the perfect non-alcoholic alternative for toasting or celebrating the joys of life – just because. This non-alcoholic Provençal-style Rosé will remind you of ripe summer berries and peachy aromas. Why not give an unexpected and alcohol-free twist to the traditional mimosas with this Still Rosé from Thomson & Scott?
Non-alcoholic White Wine alternatives
Reconsider the notion that alcohol-free wines lack taste and depth. This intricate blend features 55% Chenin and 45% Chardonnay grapes. Hailing from South African vineyards, this Still White wine preserves colour, taste, and complexity through a gentle distillation method. Expect notes of yellow apple, lime, and chamomile aromas, accompanied by flavours of honeysuckle and jasmine on the palette. Your non-alcoholic wine selection just got better!
Guide to Spectacular Sips
The versatility and adaptability of these non-alcoholic and zero-alcohol beverages are second to none. Whether a peachy Bellini, no alcohol Mimosa or a sober Sangria - these sparkling and still wines can transform any cocktail. The variety of fermented teas from Real Drinks Co. tastes even better when accompanied by a selection of tasty plates.
Mixologists and culinary artists have transformed simple non-alcoholic beverages into luxurious creations that soothe your sights and tantalise your taste buds. You too can show off your mastery with a sober sangria or an alcohol-free mojito crafted to brilliance with Noughty’s Non-Alcoholic wines.
Pairing and Serving Suggestions
If this is your first time serving or trying non-alcoholic alternatives, remember they’re similar in taste and flavour to their alcoholic counterparts. Whether, you like an aged Gouda, sweet pastries or smoked meats these alternatives are a sure win - making them the perfect choice for your favourite nibbles.
So, if you’re planning your next party or corporate retreat don’t forget to stock the bar with non-alcoholic wines, spirits, aperitifs and fermented teas. Thinking of giving a creative and thoughtful gift? Look no further than the Wine Bundle from Thomson & Scott. This sampler bundle is perfect for organising a wine tasting with your sober-curious wine-aficionado friends.
The sparkling tea collection from Real Drinks Co. is perfect for elegant soirees. Delight your guests by serving sparkling tea in chic champagne flutes paired with fruity desserts, savoury meats, and roasted veggies. Perfect for wine enthusiasts and teetotallers alike, these non-alcoholic alternatives offer opulence and top-notch quality, ensuring you're the talk of the town at your next dinner party.
Stylish and Sober Sips with Non-alcoholic Beverages
Rising awareness of mental health issues, responsible and healthier lifestyle choices and the influence of social media are impacting our drinking habits. Sober-positive lifestyles and creativity in culinary arts and adult beverages - each point toward a more inclusive society. But that doesn’t mean we have to compromise on taste, experience and quality.
And that’s the cue for VE Refinery’s finest assortment of non-alcoholic beverages or alternatives. From zero-proof sparkling champagnes to organically fermented sparkling teas - VE Refinery is championing the Swiss sober-positive movement. If there ever was a doubt from the crème de la crème of connoisseurs about these alternatives, we encourage you to taste our most premium collection of wines, champagnes, and teas from all over the world. Each bottle is crafted with brilliant precision to retain the delicate taste and style of the beverages – and meet your high expectations!
Having earned the acclaim of millions, the real question is: can they win over wine aficionados? Order today and be the judge—let us know your thoughts!