Drynks Unlimited invests £1m in next-generation process to cater for growing ‘sober curious’ market

Manchester-based Drynks Unlimited, an innovative drinks business focused 100% on producing the best 0% drinks, is celebrating as its £1m investment in the UK’s first ever cool vacuum distillation (CVD) kit produces its first bottles of 0% Smashed beer and cider.

The business was created in 2017 by Richard Clark (pictured above), a drinks industry expert, who had a clear mission to revolutionise the alcohol-free sector by creating truly 0% alcohol-free (AF) premium craft drinks that taste just as good as full-strength beers and cider. It has taken extensive trial and testing to perfect the best way to extract alcohol from alcoholic drinks without losing flavour. This intense development, brewing ingenuity and scientific know-how has resulted in a £1m investment to build the UK’s very first cool vacuum distil in Manchester.

This market-leading technology is so futuristic there are only 20 in the world and Drynks Unlimited is the very first British drinks business to own one. They have partnered with Robinson’s Brewery in Stockport to carefully build and connect the kit to its existing craft brewery. The CVD process gently dealcoholised (removes alcohol) from premium craft drinks without affecting the flavour and aromas in the original, fully alcoholic beer and cider. The CVD process takes a bit longer to produce alcohol free drinks – it takes up to 10 days to make a bottle of Smashed – but delivers by far the best quality liquid.

It has taken seven months to install the CVD machine in the heart of Robinson’s Brewery with the very first bottles of Drynks Unlimted’s Smashed range of beer and cider flowing off the lines this week. The CVD has the capacity to produce 75,000 bottles of premium quality 0% drinks per day.

Richard Clark, Founder and MD of Drynks Unlimited said: The last 0.5% of alcohol is the hardest part to remove. That’s why the majority of ‘alcohol-free’ drinks on the market are low alcohol (0.5% or above), very few are truly 0%. This market-leading technology means we are the first British-based drinks company to produce alcohol-free drinks that deliver exceptional taste and an authentic experience.

“Our drinks experts have worked closely with Robinson’s brewers to install, test and run this revolutionary piece of brewing kit. It really is a UK first and we’re excited to see it in action producing our range of Smashed beers and ciders.”

David Bremner, Marketing Director at Robinson’s Brewery said: “We are incredibly proud to partner with Drynks Unlimited and build their innovative CVD plant in our brewery. Their stealth focus on producing the best quality alcohol-free drinks in the market perfectly complements our brewing history and expertise.  Our no and low sales are up 51% this year and this trend is set to continue through innovation in flavour and dispense.”

Drynks Unlimited produces drinks at 0.05% which has less alcohol than a banana. This is true AF. But there is much confusion in the market as a beer brewed in the EU or the US that is 0.5% (low alcohol) can label themselves as alcohol-free when sold in the UK. Even supermarkets label the category as ‘alcohol-free’ when in fact most of the drinks are low-alcohol with 0.5% or more alcohol.

The drinking habits of consumers young and old is changing rapidly as people become more aware of how much they drink. Millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less and this is influenced by a number of factors including an upweighted focus on personal health and well-being and the rise of the social media surveillance culture which can document a messy night out in seconds.

Richard adds: “Product quality in the nolo (no and low alcohol) category is mixed to say the least. Some smaller brands are great tasting whilst sadly some of the recent launches do not help create the right consumer perceptions of the sector. We definitely don’t ‘part-ferment’ and we never boil the original great tasting alcohol drink. We strive to have multi-dimensional drinks that deliver on taste and experience.

“Our revolutionary range of truly AF drinks will bring true sessionability to the nolo category for the very first time.”

Its first alcohol-free brand, Smashed, has four products in its range; Smashed Cider, Smashed Hops, Smashed Citrus and Smashed Berry (launching in 2020) and available in bottles and cans. The Smashed range uses the finest British ingredients to create authentic tasting beer and cider and then the alcohol is gently removed in a low impact cool vacuumed environment which maintains the same bubbly, personality, character and flavour of the full alcohol version.

Smashed drinks don’t compromise on ingredients, process or equipment to create vegan-friendly, gluten-free (where possible) drinks. All the Smashed drinks have less than 100 calories each.

PHOTO: Richard Clark founder of Drynks Unlimited with first bottle of Smashed Cider – Edited