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The drinks startups toasting Dry January


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January has crawled back around, and some of us are finding it easier said than done to stay dry. With that in mind, we’ve scoured the Beauhurst database to find the most innovative, disruptive drinks startups catering to an alcohol-free taste. The reports are in: there’s never been an easy time to cut out booze.

Whilst a few of the companies we found offer mixers designed for pairing with booze, many of them focus on drinks that supersede alcohol entirely. Rocktails has this week launched its first spritz, a citrus drink with lemon zest and juniper berries, which is soon to be featured in London restaurants and retailers including Harrods.

This is a significant move from the young founders who walked away from Dragons’ Den: rejecting the dragons’ 2012 offer of £80k for a 40% stake (which would have valued the firm at £120k pre-money), Rocktails secured £40k just months later at a pre-money valuation of £360k.

Rocktails bottle

Seedlip, too, has had an important week: the alcohol-free spirit brand just appointed Claire Smith-Warner (formerly of Belvedere and Moët Hennessy) to lead its portfolio expansion.

Both Rocktails and Seedlip market themselves as premium brands, with 70cl of Seedlip’s spirits retailing at £27.99.  

Other firms seek to ease the toll of heavy boozing. Overhang’s energy drink, made with citrus, ginger, and milk thistle, is designed to revitalise the body after a heavy night. Genius Drinks goes one step further and claims to temper hangovers before they start, by delivering nutrients needed to metabolise alcohol.

There’s also Tenzing, whose energy drink contains green coffee and Himalayan rock minerals, and POW Energy Water whose sparkling drinks are powered by caffeine and ginseng. And this section wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Max Golf Protein, whose drink is just what you’d expect.

Beyond hangover cures and energy products, there’s an abundance of startups producing innovative soft drinks. These range from the health-conscious such as Redemption (alcohol, sugar, animal, and wheat-free drinks) to the eccentric.

NIX&KIX spices up their drinks with cayenne pepper, Good Hemp employs – that’s right – hemp flavouring in their products,  Simplee Aloe uses aloe vera, Equinox Kombucha’s range is reliant on a culture of bacteria and yeast, and Tapped (see above) is made from the sap of Finnish birch trees.

The majority of non-alcoholic drinks firms on Beauhurst are still in their early stages, and it’s interesting to note that the groups who’ve invested the most are all equity crowdfunders:

With reports abounding that milennials are ditching booze for good, these firms might yet be onto a trend.