Is dealcoholised wine ‘appalling’? The industry responds in The Drinks Business

Is dealcoholised wine ‘appalling’? The industry responds in The Drinks Business

Spotting an alarming comment posted anonymously in the latest edition of the drinks industry bible The Drinks Business, Thomson & Scott's CEO and Founder Amanda Thomson decided to reply.  She was not alone...

Click HERE to read the full article.

Here is Amanda's response in full:

Dear The Drinks Business,

It was disheartening to read the comment piece in your most recent edition where the anonymous writer had decided that the idea of dealcoholised wine was an aberration.

Noughty has existed for only four years, and within that time we have managed to stretch our footprint far and wide across the UK, US, Canada and other wine markets.

The more we learn about how we take well crafted wine and how we best remove the alcohol while retaining vinous qualities, the more this sector of the wine industry will become part of the mainstream.

The majority of our customers are wine lovers. They enjoy wine throughout the week. But they recognise the importance of balance.

Incorporating well made elegant dealcoholised wine into the industry, helps boost the existing wine industry, allowing those that enjoy wine to switch seamlessly between alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.

It also helps the on-trade from losing consumers who are increasingly turning their backs on alcohol, not being able to find enough options to keep them in situ at venues across the country and leaving early. With their friends who would stay drinking alcohol – and often eating.

This results in lost margin, not just from those not drinking but also from the rest of the table, subsequently losing wider group spend, across additional alcohol and food too, for everyone else around the table.

The points raised by your commentator regarding the ‘tricking up’ of alcohol is an important one. Noughty is made using organic grapes and produced in the most ethical ways possible to create the purist dealcoholised wine possible. The sugar content is also an important factor for us. We were determined from Day One to decrease the amount of unnecessary sugar in wine and have done so successfully.

This sector of the drinks industry is still very much in its infancy and it will only be with support, understanding and acceptance that it will grow in quality.

One only needs to look at the growth and success of the non-alcoholic beer industry to recognise the potential for the wine industry. Without these progressive attitudes and innovation, the wine industry will most certainly be left in the dust as future generations turn their back on the industry.

It is clear from statistics provided by the WHO and various governments around the world, that young people are far less interested in drinking alcohol. But wine making is the livelihood for millions of workers across the globe. It is essential that we continue to find ways to support their businesses. Not hide behind anonymous negative polemics.

Regardless of such negative attitude, it is inevitable that this will become part of our everyday lifestyle choices whether the wine industry likes it or not.

We were not in attendance at the event that was mentioned, but it sounds as though many there may not have understood the wider implications of alcohol’s impact on society, our health and necessary industry innovation.

Change does not happen overnight and until now, there have been next to no quality alcoholised wines on the market to make a case for its presence in the mainstream. But that is changing. And affordably, and sustainably. We believe that Noughty is leading the way in making impactful changes.

We are now served at Michelin star restaurants by countless Chefs and Sommeliers who understand and embrace the importance of this innovation. We are B Corp certified. And we are sold successfully in the best retail and most important wine merchants in the UK. And this is also growing at a rapid pace across the US and Canada.

This is not a trend. This is a lifestyle choice that is being adopted by more and more consumers year-on-year. So the facts speak for themselves. It’s up to the wine industry to start working out how it can better produce high quality dealcoholised wine alongside its alcoholic cousins.

It’s only narrow-mindedness and a refusal to accept change that holds industries back.

Let’s hope that this comment is an isolated case of sour grapes.