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Ten tasty alcohol-free drinks and meal pairings for summer

The selection of non-alcoholic drinks continues to expand and improve as new products and flavours are introduced to meet growing demand. Zero-alcohol beer/cider, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink (RTD) products are outperforming low-alcohol versions, according to the IWSR, which tracks the global market of wine, spirits, beer, cider and mixed drinks in 157 countries.

Their research shows that improved taste, production techniques and a diversification of consumption occasions is leading consumers to embrace no-alcohol products. In a report released in December, 2022, IWSR expected no-alcohol volumes to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 per cent between 2022 and 2026.

Canadian consumers are part of the global, cultural shift to consuming less alcohol. Demand is growing for non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits selections, with many people switching between alcoholic and no- or low-alcohol drinks in the same occasion. Global figures show 78 per cent of consumers of non-alcoholic products also drink full-strength alcohol, which means anyone shopping for summer entertaining has more options to consider beyond the usual suspects.

The beer industry has done the best job to develop a range of increasingly sophisticated products that mirror popular styles and brands. Mass-market brands and artisan producers alike have created enjoyable near-beers across a dramatic array of styles and that effort has been rewarded with increasing sales, while non-alcoholic wine ranks a distant second.

The zero-alcohol ready-to-drink category is equally advanced, with innovative products that are aimed at consumers who fall into the “sober curious” category who are evaluating their drinking habits. Wine and imitation spirits meanwhile could use more high-end products that offer the same intensity and complexity of flavours and experience of drinking your favourite brand.

Here are 10 non-alcoholic selections that stand out from the growing number of products turning up on store shelves. Each works well as an aperitif by design, but I was especially interested in the ones that I would also like with a meal as that’s when I most often enjoy having a glass of wine or a cocktail.


Edna’s Mojito (Non-Alcoholic)

This continues to be my preference amongst the increasing amount of mojito-flavoured mocktails on the market. Fresh and pure mint and lime flavours lead the way in this enjoyable non-alcoholic single-serving can. Adding a dash of salt adds depth to the drink served over ice and enhances the zesty citrus flavours. $16.99 for four 355 ml cans, direct, $4.95 per 355 ml can ($18.25 for 4 cans),,

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