Why Are Alcohol-Free Drinks So Expensive?
A lot of people have been asking me this lately: If alcohol-free drinks don’t contain alcohol, why do some cost just as much as alcoholic drinks?? And is it worth it then??
It’s a good question. And the answer is actually pretty interesting once you get past the businessey side of it (taxes and blah blah blah).
Let’s look at distilled non-alcoholic spirits, for example. I mean, alcohol-free spirits are made of mostly water instead of alcohol, right? So why am I paying that much for it?
Well, that’s exactly the reason. The fact is that alcohol is the flavour-carrier; water… not so much. Ethanol is a solvent that captures aroma compounds that get released when poured into a drink. When you make an alcohol-free beverage, you have to find ways to remove that alcohol while still keeping those intense and unique flavours. Producers need to use a lot more herbs, roots, and spices to get that flavour. These added ingredients are carefully selected, and add on to the price of production.
In addition to this, the actual distillation process is more delicate and detailed than we think. Every brand has its own process, but many involve making the alcoholic drinks and then removing the alcohol. It's a complex and expensive distillation and filtration process.
Take our beloved Seedlip, for example. These alcohol-free spirits are made by macerating every . single . individual botanical in a specific style, then distilling them twice (once to remove the alcohol, twice to concentrate the flavour). That’s a lot of distillation before they’re blended together, filtered, and bottled!
The technology to distil spirits, wines, and beers uses specialty equipment so that the taste doesn’t come out weird, and instead preserves the delicate flavours. In the end, the equipment is expensive to buy and operate, not to mention how many litres of the drink are lost in the process.
There you have it. Yes, the process is complex and can be expensive, but rest assured you know your drinks are being carefully crafted to give you the best experience and taste you can get!