The goal of Dry January is to stop drinking completely, right? Not necessarily, since more consumers are using the month to rein in their drinking rather than eating perfectly well.
It’s a fact not lost on some opportunistic liquor brands, who have seen a way to market liquor throughout the occasion. For example, a series of solutions were released this month as strong as, or even stronger, than a typical London dry. Not only that: It was positioned as a way to reduce alcohol consumption. It may sound a little silly, but could drinking really be a more virtuous way?
“The trend to low & no is here to stay, so we must continue to look for ways to build on quality options for our loyal customers,” says John McCarthy, Adnams Head of Distillation. This month, the Southwold-based company launched Smidgin, a 50% abv solution sold in 20-ml bottles. Described as a “big-tasting little gin,” Smidgin is meant to “create a low-alcohol meal with impressively intense flavor,” according to Adnams.
Only 2.5ml of spirit is required to create a full flavor G&T and is sold along with 1/2 teaspoon of copper for this. And while that’s only one tenth of a typical individual gin measure, the product is distilled ten times over from the plants to make sure it still packs a punch. “It’s a new concept for us at Adnams but we feel it has to be a success,” McCarthy says.
Along the same lines, Inginious is 43% abv with 10 times the standard gin flavoring concentration. The nipple also comes with a measuring spoon, but this time she suggests 5ml as an ideal serving to recreate the double gin and tonic. Spirit promises to “experience a familiar taste and invigorating taste” with just 0.2 units of alcohol per serving, says Inginious.
So what’s to stop consumers from throwing away the spoon and pouring too much on the spoon? After all, there are very strong solvents on the market that drinkers serve as a standard without thinking. Take BrewDog’s new LoneWolf Gunpowder, which launched this month, or Brighton Jean’s Navy Naval Force, both of which are up to 57% abv. Brands like Inginious hope their target market — logical-minded gin lovers who want the same flavor experience with a small portion of alcohol — will be led by taste rather than striving for sugar.
After all, these spirits are “inspired by the increasingly conscious and alert drinker,” according to Quarter, who claims to “lead the ‘light spirits’ movement.”
While it’s still whipping up the alcohol, the brand is taking a slightly different path. As its name suggests, Quarter offers spirits that are one-fourth the strength of the standard equivalent, and hopes to “claim the distance between full-strength distilled spirits and low-alcoholic and non-alcoholic offerings.” Although Light Gin comes in at 12% abv, a similar strength to a glass of wine, Quarter markets spirit as a more effective option for dry January and beyond.
“Quarter Jane was created to empower and inspire consumers with more choice and flexibility while drinking socially and professionally,” says the brand. It is said to bring “a much-needed flavour, mouthfeel and texture synonymous with full strength spirit, yet often lacking in the low and lacking space”.
Perhaps a wiser concept for Quarter’s target audience, which, if its marketing is anything, is made up of party-loving but health-conscious young millennials and professionals. A low value, but not too low, means that heavy drinkers can enjoy a stir when drinking socially while still consuming less alcohol, even if they are more liberal in their actions.