How do you decant non-alcoholic wine? With a decanter, of course

Who: Rival House, with Bob’s Your Uncle and Brand Pilot for website development.

What: A launch campaign for the Toronto-based alcohol-free beverage brand, using the tagline “The same ritual. Just alcohol-free.”

When & Where: In addition to the new Rival House website, the campaign is anchored by a series of online “instructional” videos providing viewers with tongue-in-cheek tips on how to navigate the world of alcohol-free beverages.

Why: According to a release, the campaign is an attempt to “normalize” alcohol-free drinks by holding them to the same standard as their alcoholic versions. Rival House, for example, provides detailed descriptions of the vineyards, breweries and distilleries from which it sources products, and also provides suggested pairings and tasting notes.

Non-alcoholic beverages is a category that’s poised for growth, driven by the rise of “mindful drinking” in which people are becoming increasingly aware of why, how much and what alcohol they drink, as well as an emerging trend called “sober curious.”

Spirits company Bacardi said last year that it expects to see 400% growth in low- and no-alcohol products in Western Europe over the next four years, while Google trends has detected a sharp rise in searches using the term “mocktails,” and a Nielsen survey of bartenders indicating that sales of low-alcohol beverages are increasingly popular with clientele.

“Many people are unaware it can be a longer, more involved process to create alcohol-free beverages, as these beverages are often created from an original product that is then de-alcoholized,” said a release announcing the campaign. “It is an industry that is growing up quickly as vintners, brewers and distillers alike recognize the opportunity.”

How: The campaign is anchored by a series of videos showing consumers how to carry out all of the rituals that accompany the typical wine-drinking experience—uncorking, decanting, smelling and pouring—except with Rival House products. The “instructional” video for how to pour non-alcoholic wine, for example, consists simply of “Pour… pour more… keep pouring,” while the smell video’s instructions consist simply of “smell.”

The traditional focus of alcohol-free beverages has been on the benefits of not drinking alcohol, but consumers are moving past that as they embrace healthier lifestyles, said Bob’s Your Uncle CEO Bob Froese. “We created the Rival House brand to rival traditional offerings and change the conversation about what it means and how it feels to show up with an alcohol-free beverage.”

And we quote: “So many of our social occasions and traditions involve alcohol and there is an awkwardness about ‘not drinking’ we want to overcome. We scoured the globe to find alcohol-free wines, beers and spirits that are every bit as refined, refreshing and flavourful as their traditional counterparts, and we reject more than we choose.” —David Pierson, founder, Rival House

Chris Powell