The Taste Bar Proves Drinking Responsibly Is Anything But Boring
By BERLIN LOVES YOU . January 27, 2022
The Taste Bar’s non-alcoholic spirits let you party like it’s 1999 and enjoy a hangover-free New Year.
A new breed of drink is making headway Berlin – and it’s anything but alcoholic.
From radlers to non-alcoholic beers, hefeweizens and now spirits and wines, the movement towards non-alcoholic drinks is going in a very specific direction – and drinks that were once considered to be alternatives or replacements are now breaking their way into the mainstream.
One such company trying to improve the health of our collective livers is The Taste Bar – an online store that supports and sells a small but curated range of alcohol-free spirits.
Working with only small-scale, local and European distilleries and boasting a portfolio of products that are “full-flavour, low in sugar and packed with 100% natural ingredients”, The Taste Bar are trying to change (or create) the perception of non-alcoholic spirits.
We spoke to them over a mocktail or two.
So, what’s the idea behind The Taste Bar?
Our mission is to change the role alcohol plays in our society. We want to change the thinking around what it is to have a great drink and fun with friends.
We want to emphasise that the most important thing about “having a drink” is the flavour, experience and company, not the alcohol content.
Having a great tasting drink that gives you an experience of drinking something truly special is fun and satisfying on its own. That’s why we’re The Taste Bar, a bar that serves taste and experience – alcohol not a requirement.
How do you see non-alcoholic spirits moving into the mainstream?
We find it hard to believe that, say, in five years’ time, you wouldn’t be able to easily order an alcohol-free Gin & Tonic at a hotel bar. Already, many bars have moved away from sweet mocktails and into exciting, new non-alcoholic flavours.
We see it like plant-based milks and food options. As more people become aware of high-quality alcohol alternatives, more will adopt a balanced and mindful approach to drinking.
Of course, we see a clear non-drinking trend in Gen Zs. It may be to do with how they are perceived in public – with heavy drinking or smoking not being popular – but we cannot say for sure. Mostly, it’s about health and well-being. After all, reducing alcohol helps improve sleep, contributes to cleaner and fresher skin, helps maintain healthier weight, improves dopamine balance… the list goes on.
We see your range includes new drinks that aren’t just “substitutes” for alcoholic drinks?
Well, it’s great to have the “classics” such as an alcohol-free aperitif, as they are easy for people to recognise and know how to drink (Editor’s note: See: Aperol Spritz). But there’s also such great innovation going on in this industry – with ingredients and products that offer new and unique flavours and experiences.
The Livener is made with adaptogenic Schisandra – a berry which helps you to relax and feel more balanced, and Guayusa, a leaf which releases natural caffeine for a clean energy boost. It has a great fiery and fruity taste, perfect to start off your evening.
Social Elixir has a herby flavour, crafted with adaptogenic lion’s mane mushroom, yerba mate and B vitamins. We like to sip it with ginger beer during a party for balanced energy throughout the night.
We also sell the world’s first ever alcohol-free ‘fine spirits’ from Gnista – unique drinks from Sweden that emulate the processes behind alcoholic spirits. The Barreled Oak is woody and smokey and is delicious sipped neat over ice while watching a good movie, whereas the Floral Wormwood is spicy and fragrant, great with some alc-free sparkling wine, for when you fancy something really special.
How would you describe The Taste Bar’s customer base right now?
We see a lot of people buying our products as part of a healthier lifestyle. Many wish to enjoy alcohol and the associated social interactions but without the negative effects on their health and well-being. Simply put, they like the party but hate the hangover.
Of course, there are also those who cannot drink alcohol. These include pregnant or breastfeeding women, those choosing to abstain because of religious or medical reasons, or those training for athletic events and don’t want to feel left out. No matter how fancy a lemonade is, you get bored of it when it’s the only alcohol-free option.
A lot of your drinks are coming from the UK. What’s the non-alcoholic culture there like?
There is a saying in England: “Never trust a skinny chef”. Perhaps it makes sense that heavy drinkers produce some of the best alternatives to alcohol, right?
Like in many other countries, people in the UK are focussing more on their health and mental wellbeing. There is a whole younger generation that simply drinks less and socialises in a different way. This drives innovation in this area.
There are a few alcohol-free stores and bars in London, and people are excited about the experience of drinking a good quality drink and exploring its flavour without having to suffer a hangover afterwards.
As a result, there are many great startups in the area offering products to meet the growing demand. We are glad to be importing some of the best to sell here in Germany.
If Berlin would have its own drink, what would it be?
Social Elixir, Soda Water and Club Mate, garnished with Mint – herby, refreshing, cool and with a mega energy boost to stay up all night ;)
Perhaps your readers can come up with a name for it? :D
Thanks a lot for the chat!
Visit www.thetastebar.de to browse their selection.