How Danish ”mindful drinking” label ISH Spirits leads the new non-alcoholic revolution
Awarded over 40 international taste awards — nine of them from the renowned 2021 Bartenders Brand Awards alone — it’s safe to say that entrepreneur Morten Sørensen’s 100-day alcohol-free challenge was quite a life-changing decision.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
April 21, 2022
The Copenhagener Sørensen (pictured above) used to run his own design agency, working with international brands while travelling the world as a digital nomad. In 2017, he decided to challenge himself with 100 days without alcohol. Realising that non-alcoholic options were scarce, he’s spent the last four years creating non-alcoholic wines, spirits, and premixed cocktails under his own label ISH, with the purpose of making it easy to be a mindful drinker
— We believe everyone deserves a drink, also if you have the desire to skip the alcohol. During this challenge, I realized that we needed more satisfying non-alcoholic options that provided the taste experience we know and love from the alcoholic versions, he says.
Sørensen states how mindful drinking is not about not drinking alcohol. Data from ISWR shows that 43% of consumers are substituting full-strength alcohol with non-alcoholic options on certain occasions. And, according to Beverage Daily, more than half (58%) of consumers report that they choose to switch between alcohol-free and full-strength alcohol products on the same occasion, while only 14% state they do not drink alcohol at all.
In Scandinavia, we now experience what’s almost like a revolution when it comes to non-alcoholic beverages. Do you feel the same?
— Yes. I agree. I have experienced the emergence of the non-alcoholic category first-hand as one of the pioneers in Scandinavia. I remember when people looked at me funny when I offered them a non-alcoholic G&T. It’s not like that anymore. Health is the main driver, but options and liquid excellence has been the main growth factor for us. Over-delivering on taste is absolute key. We are proud to offer one of the broadest and most award-winning non-alcoholic ranges in the world, focusing on taste and liquid excellence. We like to blow the minds of mindful drinkers, he says, adding,
— We have two full times product developers working with innovation every day. Additionally, we receive grants from the Danish government to continue our research and keep optimizing our existing range. We believe we can always improve and recently we received a grant to recreate the molecule for alcohol. A massive challenge that we enjoy taking on.
ISH is served at some of the leading hotels and best restaurants in the world — Eleven Madison Park, Nobu, and Alchemist all have it on the menu.
— We are now in the middle of a still wine project that we are developing in collaboration with some of the leaders in responsible eating from the Copenhagen food scene. There’s a huge demand for satisfying still wines and we see it as our responsibility to provide that, Sørensen concludes.