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Sipping in the NoLo Movement

Low alcohol and non alcoholic wines, beers and spirits are booming in popularity. Here are a few favs to pour into.

By Simone FM Spinner, Contributing Writer

In my efforts to embrace a healthier lifestyle, I began exploring the no and low alcohol (NoLo) wines and spirits movement this past Fall and I am hooked. Not only are NoLo wines and spirits the newest trends in adult beverages but, they are better than ever. These aren’t your grandfather’s near-beers!

Whether you’re trying to drink more mindfully, cut calories or eat more cleanly exploring the world of non-alcoholic wines, beers and spirits is a lot more delicious than it used to be. For me, I adopted a “Six-Day a Week Clean” lifestyle and haven’t felt this good in years. In my business, complete abstinence is nearly impossible. I am a professional wine expert and that involves a lot of wine tasting.

Sober-curiosity – and the NoLo beverage movement – is rising amongst people of drinking age all across the globe. To help you get started, I’ve shared my top picks…

Nielsen data shows that 8 in 10 people in the USA are interested in exploring the NoLo beverage movement and more than a quarter of former imbibers have already embraced a NoLo lifestyle. Industry reports show that NoLo spirits sales increased by 106% in the UK during the holiday season. With a 24% sales increase in just one year, NoLo is the fastest growing sector of the adult beverage business and is expected to reach more than $750 million in sales in 2022.

NoLo Wines

German wines are naturally low in alcohol with many Rieslings coming in at just 8-11% alcohol. Rieslings are tangy with lemon-lime and floral notes and range from bone dry to moderately sweet styles.

Sparkling wines are traditionally low in alcohol. Genuine Italian Moscato d’Asti has peaches and cream notes and just 5.5% alcohol. Most Spanish Cava, French Champagne and Cremant, Italian Franciacorta, Brachetto, and Lambrusco, and Portuguese Espumante range from very dry to sweet and lush notes that are at once aromatic, fruity, floral, and often have hints of brioche and smoke, are typically low in alcohol in the 9 to 12% range. Some sparkling wines do exceed the low alcohol range.

My go-to sparkling house wine is Spanish Cava, made in the traditional method created in Champagne, France. Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava is a lovely and complex Chardonnay blend with just 12% alcohol and Freixenet, one of the oldest cava producers in Spain, recently launched its premier low-calorie no-alcohol wine. It is a gorgeous wine with persistent bubbles bursting with flavors of lemon curd, tangerine, almond cookies, and lime zest.

Sunny Wines - low alcohol wines
Photo by Elaine Schoch

Sunny Wines in Monterey, CA is producing low-alcohol wines with zero sugar. Their wines are also certified sustainable, vegan and gluten-free. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is only 85 calories and 9% alcohol as compared to a typical glass of Cab that’s 120 calories per glass at 13% alcohol.

Grüvi beverages produces non-alcohol sparkling rosé, sparkling white, and a red blend, packaged in single-serve cans and bottles, alongside a range of non-alcohol beer. Their website offers a 10% discount on your first purchase and a library of mocktail recipes for you to try.

Gruvi non alcoholic wine
Photo by Elaine Schoch

NoLo Beer & Cider

Beer and ciders are already lower in alcohol than servings of wine and spirits but craft beers and ciders are inching up in alcohol. According to The Drinks Business, non and low-alcohol beer and spirits comprise 92% of the category.

European ciders are my go-to because they are generally higher in acidity and rustic in style, with Basque ciders showing tangy lemon and crisp green apple notes that are refreshing and food-friendly. They only have about 5% alcohol and are packed with nutrients and live culture probiotics. My favorite is Sidra Bereziartua Sagardoak, produced in Spain since 1870. Learn more about Basque cider from Basque native cider expert and travel journalist, Haritz Rodriguez, also known as the Ciderzale.

I’m not a big beer drinker but non-alcoholic beers are better than they were a decade ago. Grüvi (mentioned above) crafts NA beers that actually taste like real beer including IPA’s, Mocha Nitro Stout, Golden, Pale Ale, and a Sour Weisse. Lucky Saint and Guinness 0.0 are two more low and non-alcoholic beers to try.

Conflicting reports tout the health benefits of alcohol, particularly wine, known as a crucial component of the healthy Mediterranean Diet because of its resveratrol antioxidants. Beer also has healthy properties, particularly its live probiotics and enzymes that are good for digestion and gut health. But…alcohol also increases anxiety and depression, can pack on the pounds, disrupt sleep and interfere with estrogen levels in both women and men.

NoLo Spirits

One of my favorite summer drinks is an icy cold gin and tonic. I love the herbal notes and fizzy texture. No other cocktail is quite as refreshing after a morning of sport and sun. I love Hendricks gin for its balance of floral and herbal notes and when blended with Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic, it is the perfect cocktail. Substituting Lyre’s Dry London Spirit (gin substitute) for my Hendricks provides a delicious drink with none of the alcohol. And, I can have two cocktails instead of one!

Photo Provided by Lyre’s

Lyre’s crafts a wide range of spirit substitutions including representations of Amaretto, coffee liqueur, absinthe, bourbon, tequila, rum, Aperol, Campari, triple sec, Vermouth, and sparkling wines. Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirits have won international acclaim and awards as the best in category for many of their products. Visit their website for recipes, musings, and tips on living sober-curiously.