What do adults drink when they’re not drinking?

J2O drink

This Christmas more adults than ever will be giving alcohol a miss now and again – so what do they drink when they’re not drinking? Adult Soft Drinks is a growing category that deserves some attention this year.

For many Scots, the festive period is synonymous with kicking back and relaxing after a tough year, and for many that will mean a few beers or a glass of wine – but for an increasingly large number, alcohol is no longer the natural first choice.

According to the NHS, some 20% of UK adults don’t consume alcohol these days. And that doesn’t include the growing number of adults who are not teetotal but don’t drink with the regularity of others. So what do they drink at parties or on nights out when they’re not having a tipple? The answer is increasingly the growing category of Adult Soft Drinks.

Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks, explains: “A fifth of UK adults do not consume alcohol and these consumers expect a greater soft drinks experience when they are socialising than they would get at home. The key need state for premium soft drinks consumers – Adult Social – recognises the need for indulgent treats and options for those who don’t drink alcohol, which retailers can tap into to drive sales.”

That’s a sentiment shared by Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), who says: “Low- and no-alcohol options are becoming increasingly popular as people are more calorie conscious and choosing fitness-focused lifestyles. Consumers are increasingly prepared to pay more for an indulgent beverage and are on the lookout for products that are of a higher quality, whether they are mixers or stand-alone soft drinks.”

SLR has picked out six great premium lines that will help retailers appeal to the non-drinkers this Christmas…


The premium US juice drinks range has built a loyal following in the UK with six different options: Kiwi Strawberry, Lemonade, Mango, Apple, Fruit Punch, and Pink Lemonade. Cool packaging and quirky flavours make a change from the usual fare.


The teetotal trend has played a huge role in Appletiser’s growth in recent years with 25% of British adults actively seeking to moderate their drinking. This well-known brand offers them a great-tasting alternative to alcohol that still adds a sparkle of sophistication to an occasion. It’s in growth by over 30.2% and will be a favourite soft option for many adults this festive period.

J2O Glitterberry

Who doesn’t like a bit of glittery sparkle at Christmas? J2O Glitterberry is the ideal option for adding a little glitz and glamour. This blend of grape, cherry and winter spices with edible gold glitter has proved itself to be a strong performer in the festive party season with J2O Glitterberry sales up 16% year on year. J2O also has a strong heritage as the adult soft drink of choice in the on-trade.


How could we overlook Schweppes? Yes, it’s principally a mixer – it’s the biggest mixer brand in convenience – but there are also a few customers out there who like a little tonic or soda water on its own, or mixed with other fruit juices or soft drinks – as well as alcohol-free ‘mocktails’.


Trust the Australians to do thing differently with this range of ‘brewed’ drinks, established 50 years ago in Queensland. The products are actually brewed, and the premium range includes six flavours: Ginger Beer, Root Beer, Blood Orange, Lemon/Lime & Bitters, Peach, and Pink Grapefruit. They also come in uniquely designed funky bottles to cut a dash at the Christmas party.

St Clement’s

Launched earlier this year and available in two flavours – Apple & Pear and Raspberry & Blackberry – St Clement’s is made using a blend of bittersweet British apples, fruit juices and sparkling water. Packaged in premium 500ml glass bottles, St Clement’s is perfect served over ice.


Shloer Original is ideal as a 750ml sparkling alternative to wine and is available in Red, White and Rosé variants, plus a selection of mixed fruit flavours. Two ‘Light’ alternatives are also offered – Light White Grape and Light Red Grape. Shloer Bubbly is available in 750ml White and Pink variants, and is ideal for teetotal cork-popping occasions.

The new Shloer Spritzed range comes in Bitter Orange, Grapefruit & Mint, and Bitter Lemon & Lime flavours. It is a light, dry, sparkling soft drink developed as an alternative to flavoured aperitifs.

Also launched in 2019, was Shloer Pressed. Ideal for on-the-go enjoyment, 330ml cans are available in Strawberry & Lime, Rhubarb & Apple, and Mixed Berries varieties.

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