In the current Covid climate people are reaching for the bottle – but it’s not necessarily about the booze.
Come 6pm, who doesn’t want to hear the ice clink against the sides of the glass?
Just like cocktails drunk as the sun dips below the horizon, the tonic fizzing to the surface and the garnish of orange marks a moment in time. It’s the feeling of relief at the end of the day, mixed with a touch of anticipation for the night that lies ahead.
For some nothing could take the place of the ecstasy of an eagerly anticipated gin and tonic as sliding down their throat.
But with one in five people in the UK now teetotal, many people are looking for something different.
Whether it’s in moments of stress or celebration, they want to replicate that experience without the added, often unwanted, effects that alcohol brings.
Craig Hutchison, founder of Ceder’s non-alcoholic gin and recently launched CBD Botanical Spirit, Maria and Craig’s, says booze-free options are becoming more popular across the board.
“We’re seeing popularity increasing across all demographics and age groups,” he says.
“A lot of people want to have these adult moments but we don’t want that alcoholic effect because we’ve got to go pick up the kids or to the gym, or we’ve got more emails to answer.”
He continues: “20 percent of people in the UK don’t drink alcohol at all, sometimes this is down to religious reasons, but more and more people are taking part in initiatives such as ‘Dry January’ or ‘Sober October’.
“It’s almost a bit rude now to have a dinner party without a non-alcoholic spirit, beer or sparkling wine.”
After a long career in the alcohol industry, Craig and wife Maria launched Ceder’s non-alcoholic gin in 2018 to give adults more alcohol-free options, away from the usual sparkling water and lemon or diet coke.
Now the couple have gone one further with a blend of premium CBD isolate, distilled sage, chamomile, juniper and orange blossom, alongside other natural botanicals for an extra special adult experience.
Each 500ml bottle contains 25mg of CBD, but with just 2.5mg per measurement, the focus is on enhancing an experience rather than boasting the highest concentration.
“An adult drink experience starts well before you actually make your drink,” says Craig.
“It starts when you first discover the brand and continues when you actually buy it to when you spend the time making yourself a great drink, to the benefits of having it and sharing it with others – it’s not all about the consumption moment.”
Craig continues: “We went for a very low dosage because it’s up to the individual to enjoy drink in the right way for them.
“The benefits depend on the person and how they feel at that moment.”
It comes as no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic has had people looking for a little more release from the stress and anxieties of everyday life.
A recent report from Prohibition Partners, the leading source for data on the global cannabis market, suggested that cannabis-based beverages have the potential to become a multi-billion dollar global industry within the next decade, particularly as we enter a post-coronavirus world.
Craig felt this was the perfect time to launch Maria and Craig’s.
“The brand is about giving you a sense of calm, taking away the stresses of life and there’s so much uncertainty and fear out there, we hope we can play a role in taking a little bit of the edge off,” he says.
Figures from the Global Drug Survey, published last month showed that almost half of Britons were drinking more during lockdown, reporting loneliness, depression and anxiety as the main factors. But a third of those asked also reported that alcohol made their mental health worse.
Craig would agree that alcohol may not be the best option for people in that situation.
“A lot of people are resorting to alcohol and self-medicating and it’s up to each individual to decide when they should or shouldn’t drink alcohol, but I would say that when you’re stressed and anxious, it’s not always the way to go.”
While some in the industry have suggested CBD beverages could help tackle the culture of alcohol abuse, Maria and Craig’s is more about providing people with an alternative option, explains Craig: “The consumption of alcohol is so much a part of society and it has been thousands and thousands of years, but we’ve kind of lost our way in terms of the overindulgence in it.
“There is a role to play for CBD products, but that’s not our reason for launching. We are not anti-alcohol, far from it, we are giving people another option.”
He adds: “That sunset moment has very little to do with the alcohol, it’s about that moment of relaxation, of connecting and sharing those 10 minutes with yourself or your loved ones.
We’ll drink to that.
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