We’ve won! Best No & Low Wine or Wine Alternative, Sommelier’s Choice No & Low – Imbibe

 |   |  The Modern Drinker 
We’ve won! Best No & Low Wine or Wine Alternative, Sommelier’s Choice No & Low – Imbibe

Great news! We have been awarded not one but two Imbibe Awards, a huge accolade in the drinks industry. Our Royal Flush has been awarded Best No & Low Wine or Wine Alternative, a blind taste test (joint-awarded with Nine Elms No.18), and, amazingly, the Sommeliers’ Choice No & Low Award.

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In presenting these awards, Imbibe said

“De-alcoholised wines lost out in this category to wine alternatives, which were declared by the judges generally to be ‘where the excitement is’. This part of the category was deemed so good that two winners were declared… Royal Flush was given the Sommelier’s Choice No & Low Award for being a drink with integrity and substance. ‘You can see the makers didn’t take any shortcuts and had a clear sense of wanting to make a drink that was an alternative to wine.'”

Isn’t it a great feeling when you know you’re onto something special? We say that both as brewers, and on behalf of you guys, our drinkers and supporters, who have been so vocal and enthusiastic since day one. This award is as much for you as it is for us.

It comes at a really interesting time. This week, Waitrose announced that sales of low & no alcohol drinks have surged during lockdown, with searches on their website for non-alcoholic options up 211% on last year. This reflects a continued non-drinking trend reported on the Decanter website in January: 29% of 16-24 year olds are teetotal, and, “the proportion of adults who drink alcohol is at its lowest level on record: 57% in 2018, compared to 64% in 2005 (UK Office for National Statistics).”

However, it’s only in relatively recent years that non-drinkers have had quality options to turn to. As recently as last year, the Sommelier Wine Awards offered this stark verdict: “The patchy quality of what’s on offer was borne out by a mixed range of low-and-no-alcohol wines. Some were reasonable, others were strange, and some were undrinkable. It was clear that the existing production technique of creating an alcoholic wine, removing the alcohol then adding other products to put back body and texture is incredibly hard to get right.”

Their suggestion? “Perhaps the answer is to consider something very different.”

We’re delighted, therefore, that the wine world is opening up to the idea that kombucha – fermented tea rather than fermented grapes – can not only offer challenge in that “different” space, but also become award-winning in the non-alcoholic wines category itself. We’re delighted, too, that so many of our friends and colleagues have won categories in this year’s awards. It’s a wonderful time to be drinking less.

In response to this award, some of our supporters in the industry have sent us these lovely comments.

“Great Presentation. Substantial and of value; perfect for pouring at the table and serving by the glass, or as a pairing option. What I really love about the REAL range is that the flavours aren’t supported by added fruit flavours. This means that when we pair it we can focus on the core flavours. It also means that it is more versatile in the scope of the pairings. It can work as an aperitif; it’s got that brightness and effervescence. It can work with raw fish, the vegetal rice flavours, and it can work with dairy thanks to its citric flavours. It’s a good balance – not too acetic – and the tea comes through.” – Rob Simpson, Group Bar Manager, The Clove Club, Luca, Two Lights

“A quality drink, one might say is closer to a natural Champagne. We serve it at Le Gavroche because it is unique in style and is very versatile, either with or without food. Royal Flush is clean, complex and has great length. It can both highlight the freshness of the dish and bring a little subtlety.”Rémi Cousin, Head Sommelier, Le Gavroche

REAL Kombucha have set the bar high for alcohol-free drinks that fit into the wine occasion. Move over grapes – tea is where it is at!” – Laura Willoughby MBE, Co-founder, Club Soda

“Bright and sharp, it has some beautiful notes of rhubarb, white peach and more tropical notes, with a balanced acidity. It’s beautiful in a champagne glass by itself, or mixed in a Champagne cocktail.” – Camille Vidal, Founder, La Maison Wellness

“The complexity created by the production method means this is the perfect substitute for wine alongside food. Royal Flush has depth and layers of flavour you would not get from other NA options.” – Max Venning, Co-Owner, Three Sheets

And, finally, a few of the comments provided by the Imbibe judges themselves…

“Long, complex, interesting and classy. Would really work in a restaurant, served just like Champagne.”

“A great example of the complexity and sophistication of flavour that is achievable through highly crafted fermentation.”

“Genuinely interesting to drink and offering a variety of flavours and aromas over time.”

If you’re keen to try REAL Royal Flush, you can order it online via this website. This link will take you to the order page. If you are a trade customer, please get in touch here for information and samples.

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