seedlip-oasis-render 2024

Sampling: Seedlip Shares Five Insights on the Booming Non-alcoholic Spirits Movement

“I think for our category more than any other category, that real-life experience is of critical importance. And these are intuitively easy-to-understand products, but it is important to have that ‘first great sip,’ we like to call it, to build that advocacy and to make people believers in the proposition. It’s good as a brand to be able to kind of control that.”

–Nicholas Rowland, Senior Marketing Manager, Seedlip

As an event marketer, you’ve likely been exposed to an array of non-alcoholic (NA) spirits, wine and beer products over the last 12 months—the industry’s explosive growth has been hard to miss. So with increased competition in the marketplace, and the movement steadily gaining steam, NA spirits movement pioneer Seedlip, which arrived on the scene in 2016, is relying on live experiences in the year ahead to cut through the noise and continue driving brand, and category, awareness.

This weekend’s “Seedlip Oasis” pop-up in New York City, Jan. 26-27, is a prime example. The brand will not only tap into the occasion of Dry January, when moderation habits are top of mind for consumers, it will also leverage the event to officially debut its latest NA expression, Seedlip Notas de Agave. (A continued content partnership with actor Regé-Jean Page as part of Seedlip’s Choose Different campaign is also poised to give the launch some lift.)

“We’re designing it to be a real bright spot in New Yorkers’ lives in a time that is otherwise a bit isolating, a bit cold, a bit dark,” says Nicholas Rowland, senior marketing manager at Seedlip. “So the Seedlip Oasis is very much that; it’s an oasis. It’s a bright, warm, beautiful environment where people can get under the skin of our new flavor, Seedlip Notas de Agave, which is itself inspired by agave-based cocktails, by the tropics. So it is really designed to bring a bit of warmth and excitement into consumers’ lives.”

Read on for more of Rowland’s insights on Seedlip’s 2024 marketing agenda, U.S. consumption habits and the NA category at large.

guinness-stpatsday-2023-women-in-hats_teaserMore on This Topic:

Most Consumers are Interested in Alcohol Moderation; Not Abstinence

According to NIQ’s 2023 Non-Alcohol Report, 94 percent of consumers who buy non-alcoholic beverages continue to buy beer, wine, spirits and other products containing alcohol. For Seedlip, Rowland says the key to attracting new customers is providing NA products when consumers are already in a “drinking mindset,” whether it be for alcohol-based or non-alcoholic drinks.

“What we’re seeing about our consumer, broadly, is that it’s people who are moderating. It’s not necessarily the sober crowd,” Rowland says. “We at Seedlip believe that we have a right to talk to everyone, and we have a really inclusive proposition. But the majority of consumers that would make up the volume of the brand are those that are regular drinkers of beer, wine, spirits. It’s just a case of them now having an option to have a great tasting cocktail that doesn’t have alcohol in it.”


‘Trying is Believing’

Seedlip Notas de Agave PaNOmaExperiential is an important aspect of most food and beverage brands’ marketing mixes, but for NA brands like Seedlip, sampling experiences are absolutely critical. Offering consumers that “first great sip” and educating them on the category, says Rowland, helps demystify NA products and alleviate apprehension consumers may have about spending money on a style of beverage they’re unfamiliar with.

“I think non-alc in general is a ‘trying is believing’ proposition,” says Rowland. “As marketers, we’re seeing the rise of so many [NA] products and so many brands that offer probably very similar functional benefits. But the truth of the matter is, the average U.S. consumer out there probably doesn’t know too much about the category and too much about the products. And unless they are able to have a fully enriched experience with the product and have an excellent first taste, they might not become shoppers of the category.”


Events Build Natural Advocacy

According to Rowland, much of the NA industry’s growth is built through word-of-mouth advocacy—and the most effective way to drive it is through live events like the Seedlip Oasis.

“If you go and have a wonderful experience with a brand on a cold New York January day, you are going to be more likely to tell your friends about it in the month of January when people are moderating,” Rowland says. “It’s a really nice way to build natural advocacy.”


It’s About Driving ‘Incremental Opportunities’

The cultural shift toward alcohol moderation is giving brands like Seedlip the opportunity to show up at (and sponsor) consumer events that have traditionally been the territory of alcohol brands.

“Last April, Coachella had designated non-alc bars at the festival grounds… which I think speaks to the rise of this consumer behavior around moderation,” says Rowland. “So, certainly places like music festivals, places like major sporting events, it’s about driving those incremental opportunities where our category, non-alc, hasn’t really played in a very serious way.”


NA Products Should be Marketed Like Brands

With plenty of competition in the marketplace, Rowland says NA products should be positioned as true brands, not just another drink on the shelf.

“There is a proliferation of products out there and I’m using the word ‘product’ quite intentionally. I think as the category matures, those products do need to start operating like brands because I think people are going to be gravitating toward brands as opposed to just products,” he says. “At Seedlip, we pride ourselves as being a premium drinks brand. We see ourselves as pioneers of the category. So for us, it’s really important to be able to offer a beautiful and wonderful and distinctive experience to our consumers to help drive that, cut through and become top of mind.”

We’ll raise a Seedlip Margarita to that.

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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