The Tuppenny and the NoLo movement
Despite us having partly built our business around a carefully curated selection of artisan beers, ciders, wines, and spirits, it is not always all about alcohol with the drinks at The Tuppenny. We like to be as inclusive as possible, not everybody likes alcohol and for every group of drinkers there is generally one person driving. We also realise that for many folks in our society alcohol is a problem, whether that is personally or because of the actions of others who cannot deal with it sensibly, and we have always been a bar that encourages responsible drinking and discourages excess and idiocy. In fact, we believe we have a far lower tolerance threshold for anti-social behaviour than almost anywhere else.
Since opening we have taken pride in offering a far more interesting selection of soft drinks than just your usual cola’s, lemon and orangeade’s and fruit juices, including in our fridge old classics like dandelion & burdock, ginger beer, cream soda and root beer. We also worked hard to ensure we always offered the best non-alcoholic beer we could find. In recent times however, this has all stepped up a gear. More and more people are watching what they drink, a recent report from the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) revealed that one in three young adults have cut down on their alcohol consumption with a record 23% claiming to now be teetotal, meaning the no and low alcohol drink sector is currently the fastest growing part of the drinks industry and consequently the choice of interesting and flavoursome drinks on the market is increasing alongside this.
So we have kept stepping up our game, whilst always trying to maintain that interesting point of difference that sets us apart from the other bars locally as well as the supermarkets. In responding to this fundamental change of drinking habits one of the products we have adopted is Kombucha. Created from a natural yeast and bacterial fermentation of a sweet tea, this drink originated in China around 200 years ago.
It is a light, sparkling, delicate flavoured drink with a flavour profile that is somewhere between a fruity champagne and a light scrumpy cider. The approach and process is similar to the production of a champagne or prosecco but the fermentation technique results in a product that, because it weighs in at less than 0.5% ABV, means it is classed as alcohol free (it contains less alcohol than a ripe banana!) In terms of flavour, it has a subtle acidity that is similar in level to the sharper white wines, but with fruit flavours that come through. One of the two varieties we stock, Royal Flush, has notes of rhubarb and gooseberry and citric fruits coming through for example.
Kombuchas have received criticism in the past for a high price tag compared to soft drinks, but the complex fermentation processes distinguish them from soft drinks, they are made with a level of craft as complex as any alcoholic drink which results in a layered taste experience like you would get with beer and wine. It is no accident that the brand we stock, Real Kombucha, is listed at over 60 Michelin starred restaurants, including the 2-star L’Enclume where it is served as an aperitif.
Speaking of craft, we have been happy to recently extend out alcohol-free craft beer range to include Solo Pale Ale from our friends at West Berkshire Brewery. This is a delicious less than 0.5% ABV pale ale with a tropical hop aroma with grassy pine notes and a crisp bitterness, that sat nicely alongside the dry-hopped lager we already had and has gone down very well so far with our customers. The product has had such a positive impact for the brewery, that they have now launched a peach version of the pale, and a pilsner lager too, both of which have made an equally big statement on the alcohol-free trade (yep, there are retailers out there who specialise in low and no drinks). We have had both and they are up there with the best on the market – the pilsner has a snappy bitterness and fresh, floral aroma whilst the peach pale is a light and crisp delight with bright citrus aroma and a refreshing peach taste. We will be stocking the entire Solo family eventually: the pilsner has already made its way on to the shop and the peach will be following as soon as possible but has been so popular has sold out at the brewery already! We think you would be hard pressed to find three better and more interesting low-alcohol beers anywhere.
The aim for us is to continue exploring this sector of our market and searching out for you the best examples of no and low drinks, much as we do with the rest of our offering. So, keep an eye out for anything new going on, and as always, rest assured that we have stringently ensured it is to Tuppenny quality, so give it a go! We have your backs…!