A couple from Sunshine Coast are adding more fun to the soft drink market with a unique seltzer that caters to people looking for a “NOLO” alternative.
More and more consumers are looking for enjoyable beverages as part of a low- or no-alcohol lifestyle.
Dan Hastings and Amelia Carew of Buderim launched Australia’s first ‘soft’ seltzer called So Soda.
The couple wanted to create a fun and tasty option to counter the fact that most soft drinks have a reputation for being serious and often laced with sweeteners.
“We love camping and like to sit by the fire with a drink in hand, but when we wanted a refreshing non-alcoholic drink the choices were slim,” Ms Carew said.
“We felt that the options that were on the market were just not what we were looking for and certainly didn’t make it in terms of a refreshing alternative, and there were no fun branding, everything was so serious.
“We always wanted to have fun, even if our friends chose to drink alcohol, but we just couldn’t find something that met that need – and that’s how the idea for So Soda was born. “
With a background in the beverage and hospitality industries, they launched So Soda after a previous craft beer venture of over 10 years.
Seeing the undeniable demand for low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages, they realized that there were similar parallels to the beginnings of the craft beer movement, born out of the market for beer having limited supplies and little flavor.
Mr. Hastings said their first flavor release, Watermelon Mint Spritz and Yuzu Lime Chilli, really made an impression.
“Our research tells us that people who seek out low-alcohol or no-alcohol options are not only driven by wellness, but also by experience, and they crave a brand they can be proud,” he said.
“We did extensive research and spoke to a wide range of people we know in the beverage, liquor and grocery retail industry, and the results were undeniable. The movement to drink less alcohol is clear.
“Everyone knows that and the data doesn’t lie. However, not everyone is looking for sobriety, most just want to moderate their drinking and they still want a drink, but the migration to moderate drinking is hampered by the limited NOLO products available.
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There are two flavors to choose from, and a third flavor will be releasing very soon, with more on the way.
Each drink contains at least 50% less sugar than comparable drinks and So Soda is all-natural, preservative-free and designed to be drunk neat, mixed or garnished.
Mr. Hastings and Ms. Carew said it had become clear that in the NOLO category, products containing sweeteners were not selling well and that the category lacked consumer confidence in quality products at good prices.
Data from the IWSR Beverage Market Analysis confirms that total abstinence is no longer the largest consumer market for these products.
According to their research, “those who completely give up drinking alcohol only represent 23% of the clientele.
“The increase in sober-curious drinkers has been quite significant: regular drinkers are increasingly emphasizing moderation, opting for non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages in place of high-strength beverages at certain occasions”.
The latest data from the United States suggests that the alcohol-free and low-alcohol category continues to grow.
Beverage market analysis from IWSR shows that low-alcohol and non-alcohol products saw overall volume growth of more than 30% in the United States, bringing their total market value to more than $2 billion. dollars in 2021.
The category now accounts for about 1% of the alcoholic beverage market in the United States, a small but important – and growing – segment.
So Soda retails for $17.99 per 4-pack and $89.99 per case of 24 packets and contains no artificial sweeteners or preservatives.
Soda can be purchased directly online via sosoda.com.au and will soon be rolling out nationwide to major retailers and wholesalers.