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Alcohol-free gin: Millennials look for the buzz without the booze

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Reported by Sasha Lakic

Seedlip makes an attractive mocktail for non-drinkers. Photo courtesy of Mikuni Wild Harvest

While most people are familiar with the traditional non-alcoholic beers, there’s a new kick in town. Catering to those who abstain, bars and restaurants are trying to replicate the drinking experience with non-alcoholic mocktails. Products such as Seedlip are even trying to replicate specific hard liquors.

“The problem is what to drink when you’re not drinking,” said Tyler Gray, president of Seattle’s Mikuni Wild Harvest, which distributes Seedlip locally out of South Vancouver.

A 700-milliliter bottle of Seedlip contains a mix of plant ingredients. Photo courtesy of Mikuni Wild Harvest

“There’s a big percentage of the population who either can’t drink because of life circumstances, perhaps they’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or for religious reasons or they simply don’t drink. There’s a lot of fruit drinks, there’s a lot of sugary drinks, and there’s an increasing number of interesting non-alcoholic cocktail mixers, like shrubs and drinking vinegars.”

Millennials drinking less

Though millennials may one day be a target group for the fancy distilled dry drinks — consuming less alcohol than previous generations, according to the latest Statistics Canada numbers — products like Seedlip are on the pricey end of the scale at $50 a 700-milliliter bottle.

“The drink would have to taste very good,” said first-year Langara film arts student Blake Chambers, who generally sticks to soft drinks after watching his friends get excessively drunk.

“I’ve seen bad stuff happen and I just don’t want to lose control,” he said.

Julie Newton, Langara biology student. Photo by Sasha Lakic

A Statistics Canada report published in January 2016 showed that almost a quarter of Canadians, were 15 years or older in 2013, did not drink at all for one reason or another.

“I just find it a waste of money,” said biology student Julie Newton of drinking, who prefers to drink at home, if at all. “My boyfriend’s a marathon runner, so he doesn’t drink. When we go out together, what’s the point of me getting drunk and him having to watch me.”

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