Scotland has cornered the market in distillery gin – now the country is cashing in on a boom in the low-alcohol version of the drink.
With 90 distilleries producing 180 versions, the trendy tipple has become our other national spirit.
Now several are producing versions with less than two per cent alcohol in a surging market.
The UK spent £105million on booze-free and low-alcohol wines and beers last year. The no-alcohol spirits market is worth £5million after just four years, with gin alternatives leading the charge.
Roddy and Kerr Nicoll run drinks firm Spirits of Virtue and make their own No Sin Gin as well as Asda and Lidl’s own-brand gin alternatives.
The firm, whose £9.99 CeroCero gin for Lidl sold out within three days this month, is on target to make 148,000 bottles of booze-free gin next month to meet Christmas and Hogmanay demand.
Roddy, 53, who set up the company with his younger brother in April last year, said: “I am a serial entrepreneur but I’ve never been involved in a venture that has had this much traction so quickly.
“The growth rate and demand for zero-alcohol drinks is phenomenal. We make Asda and Lidl’s own-label and are about to do the same for two other supermarkets.
“We delivered 10,000 bottles of CeroCero non-alcoholic gin into Lidl on October 31 and they sold out within 72 hours. It’s just incredible.”
Drinks giant Diageo recently revealed 29 per cent of millennials are teetotal and 58 per cent of consumers are drinking more no and low-alcohol drinks than last year.
Roddy, whose Glasgow-based company also makes zero-alcohol whisky Dochus and Usko, a booze-free vodka, says there are several driving forces behind the trend.
He said: “You’ve got young Muslims who don’t drink for religious reasons. You’ve pregnant and breastfeeding women, teetotal millennials, designated drivers and those staying sober for a healthier lifestyle.
“Sober October and Dry January are also influencing factors, when people realise they don’t need a drink to be the life and soul of the party.”
Former reality TV hellraiser Spencer Matthews has jumped on the bandwagon by launching 1.2 per cent strength CleanGin.
Hannah Fisher runs The Start-Up Drinks Lab in Port Glasgow with business partner Craig Strachan.
The firm, which produces craft sodas, mixers, beers and ciders, has seen a huge rise in its low and no-alcohol contracts since last year.
Hannah, 36, said: “In the last six months, our main production has been non or low-alcoholic spirits. We launched a range of non-alcoholic rosé wine called Sparklingly Sober.
“We’ve already got a listing with Scotmid and are in talks with other supermarkets. Demand for alcohol alternatives is growing by the day.”