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Food Industry News

Review of Imbibe Live 2019


Attracting thousands of visitors each year to Olympia London, Imbibe Live celebrated its 10th birthday and prepared for a future involving less alcohol

Review of Imbibe Live 2019


"The non-alcoholic space will see premiumisation. There will be a switch from soft drinks to beautiful non-alcoholic cocktails."
Ara Carvallo



1 – 2 July 2019 saw the 10th anniversary of Imbibe Live, one of the UK’s biggest on-trade events for the drinks and hospitality industry. Attracting thousands of visitors each year to Olympia London, co-founder of Women In the Food IndustryMecca Ibrahim went along to discover the latest trends. 

What she saw of the future of the drinks would mean less alcohol, more sustainability and an industry catering to Generation Z looking to get their kicks less intoxicating ways. In an Industry Matters talk on where the drinks industry might be in 2029 - Will Rowe of insights agency Protein found that younger drinkers are drinking less alcohol. He said that Generation Z – those younger than Millennials – are not really interested in alcohol as a way of letting their hair down and becoming more social. Over half are drinking less or have stopped drinking entirely. 

The non-alcoholic space will see premiumisation,’ said Ara Carvallo, the new portfolio director of Distill Ventures an independent drinks accelerator, dedicated to helping founders build, scale and sell the drinks brands of the future. ‘There will be a switch from soft drinks to beautiful non-alcoholic cocktails.’ she said.

There were many low alcohol stands such as Silver Swift, which are also vegan, gluten-free and marketed as “guilt-free” with fun names like Basil Blush.

Wine expert Jane Parkinson, led a tutored tasting on low or no alcohol drinks. She sees this move towards less booze as more than just a trend, with supermarkets recording higher sales or low alcohol drinks and “Moderation occasions” becoming the new buzzword.

The growth of CBD was mentioned in the future of drinks panel and there was a stand promoting CBD drinks. OTO CBD Bitters are designed to add zing and great flavour to beverages claiming to give our bodies a much needed boost – all without the need for intoxication.

Mecca also noted a new company Quenchable founded by Nikki Welch who had previously made WineTubeMaps. Quenchable is a new hospitality training tool, which made its debut at the show and is designed to give front of house teams the confidence to serve wine, whisky and beer with ease and help upskill teams who may not know as much about the drinks as their customers.

Visit Women in the Food Industry's website for the full review on Imbibe Live 2019 and the future of the drinks industry

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