According to market research firm Nielsen, 66% of U.S. millennials and 47% of all American consumers 21 and older said they reduced their alcohol consumption in 2019, for health-related reasons and to save money. As the sober-curious lifestyle trend is expected to continue growing in 2020, non-alcoholic or “zero-proof” spirit brands are catching on and providing new options for consumers who don’t want to sacrifice a social nightlife.
Seedlip, a brand of distilled alcohol-free spirits, has spearheaded the trend of zero-proof craft cocktails since Ben Branson founded the U.K.-based company in 2015. The brand’s three botanical variants—Spice 94, Garden 108 and Grove 42—are now sold in more than 25 countries around the globe at 7,500 bars, hotels, retailers and restaurants, including around 300 with Michelin stars. Seedlip has seen 124% growth year-over-year and volume growth of more than 270% in 2019, according to the brand.
Diageo acquired a majority shareholding in Seedlip in August, following the brand’s minority investment from the Diageo-backed accelerator program Distill Ventures in 2016. According to a 2019 study Distill Ventures conducted in partnership with Seedlip in the London, Los Angeles and New York markets, 58% of all consumers surveyed were drinking more no- and low-ABV drinks than the previous year; 83% of bar managers in Los Angeles think non-alcoholic cocktails are part of a larger trend; and 55% of venues in the U.K. are either dedicating sections of their menus to alcoholic-free drinks or creating separate menus for them.
To kick off the new decade, Seedlip has launched its first major digital advertising campaign in the U.S. to continue raising consumer awareness of the brand and demonstrate that non-alcoholic booze can be for every type of drinker. Seedlip worked with California-based creative agency Rosewood Creative to create “The Seedlip Social: A Drink for Every Drinker,” which includes three quirky, colorful digital ads that depict three consumers with distinct personality traits who find a common connection in their preference for mocktails.
While Seedlip has been available to purchase in the U.S. for more than a year, Jake Annear, the brand’s U.S. head of digital and ecommerce, said the brand timed its U.S. campaign to Dry January to drive awareness during a month when more American consumers are committing to sober and healthier lifestyles, or evaluating their relationship with alcohol.
“We felt that a campaign that champions all types of drinkers would resonate with consumers, regardless of where they’re at in their acceptance of non-alcoholic cocktails,” Annear said. “Primarily, we want to get people to understand what Seedlip is as a brand and product. We believe our product is one that touts inclusivity and shows people they can have many options during a drinking occasion.”
The ads depict the “can’t drinker,” someone whose circumstances prevent them from consuming alcohol, as Lloyd the pilot, who enjoys a Seedlip and ginger ale. For the “balanced drinker,” who enjoys alcohol in moderation, IT manager and social butterfly Miguel sometimes opts for Seedlip to avoid drinking alcohol every night of the week. And Pearl represents the “doesn’t drinker,” those who choose not to consume alcohol for a variety of reasons; in this case, she doesn’t enjoy the taste of alcohol but still wants a refined cocktail that suits her particular palate.
Seedlip launched the campaign across its social platforms on Jan. 3, and has partnered with Vox Media to roll out the campaign through programmatic, video, custom content and podcast audio reads beginning later this month through the end of March. As part of the Vox Media partnership, Eater will release dry bar-hopping maps of New York and Los Angeles that illustrate spots where Seedlip cocktails are on the menu, such as Eleven Madison Park in New York and Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles.
Ian is an experiential marketing reporter for Adweek where he covers brand activations and experiential trends. Previously, he was an editor for BizBash where he covered events such as CES, Sundance Film Festival, NYC Pride, and C2 Montréal. Originally from Maryland, Zelaya also was a reporter for Baltimore Style magazine and Washington Jewish Week. He has a degree in mass communication from Towson University and lives in Brooklyn.