With 100% year-on-year growth and annual sales around the US$10 billion mark, the NoLo drinks category has become a massive trend – and a welcome shot in the arm – for the beverages industry.
We spoke to some of the most innovative NoLo entrepreneurs & experts from around the world for their tips on what it takes to succeed with no and low alcohol beverages.
1. Innovate with sales channels
The founder of UK NoLo firm The Savyll Beverage Co. reports great success with sales and brand exposure via catering companies. But in a recent sit down with Unleashed he revealed other, more innovative approaches were showing promise.
“Coming from my background, I know that at Indian weddings there’s a large portion of people who don’t drink and they’re just offered coke or juice,” Savyll’s Avnish Babla told us.
“A lot of messaging in the market focuses on health, wellness, mindfulness… but no one is speaking to a very large segment that is being ignored: ethnic minorities that don’t drink or seldom drink.”
“So we tested our products at a few weddings over the wedding season last year – and we saw phenomenal results.”
- Outtake: Remember that your route to market may have paths not available to conventional alcoholic beverages. For example, the new NoLo-only online stores springing up around the world.
2. Find your authentic story
What’s your reason for creating your drink, and will your customers care?
“There’s a lot of ‘cover bands’ that’ll pop up, and there’s only so much that a market can take of people doing the same thing,” says Sobah co-founder Clinton Schultz.
He and co-founder wife Lozen are both first nations / Aboriginal Australians, and run their NoLo beer company as a social enterprise, pushing profits back into community projects they’re passionate about.
It’s an approach that permeates everything they do. And it’s certainly done their five year old business no harm: they recently raised $1 million through crowdfunding, and are currently building Australia’s first dedicated non-alcoholic brewery.
- Outtake: There’s a reason you do what you do – but are you communicating it?
Read the full NoLo Alcohol Report
3. Play where you can win
Another outtake from the Savyll Beverage Company’s Avnish is to play where you can win: When beverage giants Diageo and Tanqueray both moved into the market with zero alcohol gin and tonic products Avnish chose to pivot toward more complex fruit-led flavours, where he could build a loyal following.
- Outtake: Carve out a niche that you can defend. Ask yourself ‘what is that I do that can’t be replicated?’
4. Plan for success
When Denis Kelleher set up his UK-based Kombucha ingredients company Good Culture Kombucha, he knew he was on to a winner – which is why he ran his business in the cloud from day one.
“From the very first day that we started the business – for the very first order, the very first transaction – we used Unleashed,” says Denis.
Using the system as their beverage inventory software platform from the get-go brought multiple benefits – including the ability to work remotely through lockdowns, and from any location.
“Unleashed has allowed me to work from anywhere in the world. I’ve been to Sydney, Australia, sitting in a coffee shop on the harbour checking Unleashed on my phone knowing what orders need to come in and go out that day.”
- Outtake: Don’t create future problems by running your business on Excel. A proper beverage inventory software system lets you scale effortlessly as your business grows.