1) You’ve recently launched your new alcohol-free G&T, Duchess, in the UK after launching in South Africa in 2016 – what are the key differences you’ve noticed between SA and here with regards to the launch?

The acceptance of the brand has been as enthusiastic as with South Africa and it was all about having the same brand authenticity that we have in South Africa. I am now traveling to the UK more often to ensure that the brand and product has the founder-led approach that we applied in South Africa.

2) The increase in the production of alcohol-free drinks and brands has increased significantly in the UK since our first festival last summer, can the same be said for South Africa? 

Certainly. I think the non-alcoholic category is seeing a massive increase globally as consumers become more educated on health and wellness. Consumers now demand more complex, non-alcoholic adult drinks and they have the full right to this. We are constantly innovating and building our range to accommodate for this consumer demand.

3) What do you think are the main reasons for this growth and what changes have you noticed in the “mindful drinking” scene both here and in South Africa since you first launched?

I think the stigma that alcohol is a necessity in a social setting has dramatically changed in the last few years. Consumers are valuing the quality of their experiences in different ways that does not include the amount of alcohol that you consume. It is no longer frowned upon to go dry or to limit alcohol intake.

4) We’ve recently been campaigning to change the labelling of alcohol-free drinks, to allow those in the UK that are between 0.05% ABV and 0.5% ABV to be categorised as “alcohol-free” instead of “low alcohol” – what are the guidelines in South Africa on this? 

South Africa actually works on the same guidelines as the EU. (0.5% can be labelled as alcohol-free)

5) Where would you like to see your brand in 2 years, and what do you think is needed to get you there?

Our vision is to supply mindful consumers with innovative non-alcoholic beverages that will disrupt the traditional alcohol & soft drink industry, as the market becomes more sober curious. With this we would like to expand from the UK, Belgium and Netherlands to other countries and turn The Duchess into a global beacon for well crafted adult drinks. For this, we will certainly need to keep innovating and ensure that our brand stays relevant to our consumers in every way. These are also the parts that we enjoy most so watch this space.