As a longtime baseball fan, I’m beyond excited that the Chicago White Sox were in the playoffs once again. In 2005, they won the World Series in dominant fashion 4-0 against the Houston Astros — the same team they are facing in the 2021 American League Division Series. Also notable is the fact that the managers of the respective teams, Tony LaRussa, 77, and Dusty Baker, 72, are the oldest managers in MLB with a combined 68 years of managerial experience and 4,703 wins.
Within the beverage industry, an unexpected category seems to be “winning” as well — low or no-alcohol spirits, mocktails and beer.
After cultivating a groundswell in the United Kingdom, no- and low-alcohol spirits brand CleanCo Ventures Ltd., founded in 2019 by entrepreneur Spencer Matthews, inked a deal with newly formed adult drinks company Demeter & Co., which was co-founded by industry veterans Jim Clerkin, former CEO of Americas for Moët Hennessy and Jim Beam, and Jeff Menashe, who founded Demeter Advisory Group, the adult beverage’s leading investment bank.
In October, CleanCo, the first brand in Demeter & Co.’s portfolio, entered the North American market in a move that sets the brand up to achieve sales of more than 50,000 9-liter cases in the U.K. and United States in 2021. The brands arrival is being elevated with key distribution deals, including with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, which launched the portfolio in seven states including California, Texas and Florida.
“Every brand we develop is going to be informed by really deep consumer insights and research,” CEO Clerkin explains in a statement. “We have five significant projects right now that we’re working on at various levels in a number of categories. Anywhere we can operate in adult beverage that meets the criteria that we set out — that’s informed by real deep insights from the consumer, that operates in a premium category — we will evaluate very closely, be it still wine, sparkling wine, RTDs, maybe even cannabis-infused.”
"CleanCo is the first example of Demeter & Co's approach to building global adult beverage brands, which involves pushing new boundaries and making a positive impact on culture," added Menashe, co-founder and executive chairman of Demeter & Co.
CleanCo offers a range of full-flavored non-alcohol alternatives to full strength spirits including Clean G, a gin alternative; Clean R, a rum alternative; and flavored Clean G Editions Pink (strawberry gin), Clean T (tequila), Clean V Spiced Apple (vodka) as well as canned ready-to-drink cocktails that are made using a traditional distillation process, without the hangover or excessive calorie intake, the company says.
In time for the holidays, Mingle Mocktails, a new line of bubbly, low calorie, alcohol-free drinks that are clean crafted with fruit juices and botanicals and no artificial ingredients, are available in five flavors: Cucumber Melon Mojito, Blackberry Hibiscus Bellini, Cranberry Cosmo, Moscow Mule and Blood Orange Elderflower, the newest flavor. Founded by “mon-preneur” Laura Taylor, Mingle Mocktails are a booze-less, refreshing, low-calorie alternative to plain soda and seltzers for those who choose to be alcohol-free, expecting, designated driver or just because, the company says. They are available on Amazon, online or at more than 3,000 retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $9.99-$12.99.
With “Sober October” and other initiatives in place, it’ll be interesting to keep track of the innovation within low- and no-alcohol beverages.