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Beyond the booze // Event 3rd March // Exploring the world of no + low options


It's February and in this edition, I touch on my thoughts on no / low alcohol options as I develop the purpose of Fóns - and as I aim to bring you more than just booze. Part of my mission is to enlighten and also entertain, with these newsletters hopefully adding value to your experience. If you haven't seen my socials or website, I would like to invite you to an event I am hosting with Paisan at Peckham Cellars on Sunday 3rd March.

Beyond the booze

For a while, I have had conflict in the back of my mind, about working in the booze industry, as we all know the negative effects alcohol can have. Also being a mother of two, I find myself drinking less and less, as I cannot fathom a hangover and the anxiety it brings. Yet, I continue to be fascinated by the world of wine, the stories behind the bottle and the sensations of the taste and smell. I also importantly enjoy wine! And when it comes to soft drinks, I want to drink well, and not be stuck with the boring big brand sparkling soft drinks out there. So what can we do?

An important message here is, that let's drink less alcohol and better quality. And how do we do this? Well throwing in some no / low alcohol options is a great start, and in recent years there has been a shift in drinking habits which has opened new doors to drinking habits and consequently more products in the market. I touch on some options I explored in the recent weeks further in the newsletter below.

Another focus 'beyond the booze', is why we educate ourselves about wine. We can celebrate the people of wine, and the faces behind the bottles and reinforce the message that wine is there more than to just get drunk with. The wines represent a sense of place and also have a story of how they became. In each instance, this can differ from socio-economic reasons to the simple celebration of the art form or something more significant and possibly a political meaning. We could go on a whole historical journey of the representation of wine, but not sure there's the time here. Also, I hope this message doesn't read too heavy, and instead, I want to emphasise why I am fascinated by wine and to share my journey of enlightenment with you.

One way we can share the stories is during events! This leads me to plug the next event I am hosting, see details below!

Sunday 3rd March - Pranzo Lungo with Paisan

A collaboration between PAISAN & FÓNS for a long Sunday lunch with a menu looking forward to the first shoots of spring and a carefully paired wine flight. The duo are hosting at Peckham Cellars on Sunday 3rd March, 12 noon onwards.

Book tickets via this link below to my website.

No + Low Alcohol Options

Last month I went to a no + low alcohol tasting hosted by Sager and Wine, showing some of their imports as well as the non-alcoholic botanical drink Botivo. If you've not yet tried their amaro-type drink, you really should get yourself this non-alcoholic aperitif!

One from the Sager collection was Ama Brewery from the Basque region of Spain. Their pet-nat style tea for me is a beyond-sophisticated version of kombucha that resembles a wine and is honestly impressive. With complex profiles and precision, and some bottles even aged. Their focus is on sourcing sustainable tea, and their quest for quality shone, and it's all in the Scoby. They are Basque country based, and benefit from the proximity to the wild and their water source, the Izarraitz Massif. We discussed drink offerings, and how they can be blended with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options, as it is often assumed you drink alcohol or you don't, which for me is often why places don't put much effort into offering an alternative to wine. I guess we assume you'd be happy with a sweet juice or a branded fizzy?

Also showing their collection, was Copenhagen-based Muri, who has been on my radar for a while, as I used one of their bottles for my wedding, as a drink for a secret pregnant bride, and you know what no one guessed! They brand themselves as fermented blends, providing a range of sips and different profiles, all having a personality and unique flavours. Their project stems from expertise in fermentation and similarly to Ama Brewery, they have found a niche in providing a pairing for a tasting menu that is an equal alternative to an alcoholic option.

Enquire about building your no / low alcohol offerings, book in a discovery call

Oddbird is another wine company I have recently come across and is branded as 'a wine liberated from alcohol'. Impressively, the Blanc de Blancs I tried is the closest to an actual wine I have come across. Admittedly, it is sweeter and more tropical fruit-focused than the alcoholic Champagne, yet the palate is left with a clean finish and the characteristics resemble those of autolysis - the toasty flavours you get which is from a chemical reaction when the wine comes in contact with the lees (wine spectator). Oddbird's method of alcohol extraction is a little puzzling, and they've even patented the technique, although their intentions are clear. They are addressing the issues people have with alcohol by tackling the root cause. Their idea is by introducing a premium alcohol-free wine, they will hopefully challenge and reshape society’s prevailing alcohol norms. Moa, who is the CEO and has over twenty years of experience as a family therapist and social worker worked with many families where alcohol caused problems, so for her, this is a personal mission. On the website, the message of a world where asking, “Would you like your wine with or without alcohol?” would be as routine as inquiring, “Would you prefer your coffee with or without milk?” examples of the magnitude of her cause, and I applaud her for going at it with integrity. They are working with winemakers, so you can trust the product, and feel confident that the source of the wine is as we know and love. They value the same important principles and the wines are quality-led, therefore it's the science and process of de-alcoholisation they are focusing on changing, not the product itself. I am excited to try more of their wines, especially from their low-intervention range.

All these producers are key to watch as this segment of the drinks market continues to grow, stay tuned!

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