Pernod launches no-alcohol ‘dark spirit’ in UK

by Amy Hopkins

Pernod Ricard has waded further into the low- and no-abv drinks territory with the launch of an alcohol-free ‘dark spirit’.

The new brand, called Celtic Soul, is described as a “non-alcoholic blend of carefully distilled dark spirits”, with a flavour of “sweet vanilla, spices and oak”. It has been created by Craig Hutchison, founder and managing director of ‘gin alternative’ Ceder’s, which entered into a distribution agreement with Pernod Ricard UK last year. The brand recently hit sales of £1 million (US$1.25m). “The mindset of the drinker has changed and to have a sophisticated drink doesn't mean it has to contain alcohol,” said Hutchison. “It's about the ritual, the serve, the taste and the adult price point. I’m excited to once again partner with Pernod Ricard UK to now bring Celtic Soul to market and offer consumers more choice to satisfy the growing thirst for no-alcohol options.” According Nielsen, the low- and no-alcohol category is now worth £107.7m (US$134m) in the UK off-trade, growing at 24.2%. Low and no spirits are growing much faster, and are estimated to increase value sales by 374.9% by 2020, according to IWSR data. “With the no and low category showing double-digit growth in both value and volume, this is a dynamic area for Pernod Ricard UK,” said Ian Peart, business development manager for Pernod Ricard UK. “The category currently lacks a compelling dark spirits offering and we are excited to partner with Celtic Soul to bring the brand to market. “Since launching Ceder’s in July 2018, we have seen encouraging results and as of March 2019, Ceder’s is a £1m brand, so we’re excited to be extending our current non-alcoholic offering at a time when the no and low market continues to gain momentum.” Celtic Soul will be available exclusively from Sainsbury’s from 22 July at an RRP of £25.00 (US$31.30).