IWSC Low & No Alcohol: awards grow by almost 400% as mindful drinking continues to gather pace

Alternative drinks

Fri 15 Oct 2021

By Gemma Duncan

The increasing popularity of the mindful drinking movement is showing no signs of slowing if the IWSC results are anything to go by. For 2021, the world’s oldest drinks competition saw a marked increase in the number of entries for its low and no alcohol categories, growing 389% compared to 2020 competition entries.

Awarding products with an abv of 1.2% or below, the competitions highest accolade, a Gold Medal, was awarded to 23 products, which included wine, vermouth and gin alternatives.

“The rapid increase in the number of products entering the low and no categories has highlighted the increased importance for a competition to select the best amongst them.” This was the opinion of the IWSC’s Judging Committee member Christine Parkinson, founder of Brimful Drinks. Christine’s mission is to provide businesses with drinks that taste good, look good and feel good.

Highlights within the competition included the sparkling wine lower alcohol alternatives, which comprised a variety for styles, from Prosecco-styled drinks to drinks styled more closely on Champagne, many of which the judges felt would do well against a traditional alcohol-based sparkling wine.  

Perhaps unsurprisingly the biggest category by far was the Gin and Juniper category however it was the newer Rum-style category which was remarked upon by the judges as an area of quality and excitement.

As well as awarding products below 1.2% abv, this year the awards also included categories for Lighter Alcohol style products, Shrubs and Switchels.

Christine was supported throughout the judging process by other leaders in the mindful drinking field, including Laura Willoughby MBE founder of Club Soda who has made it her place to make sure no one feels out of place when not drinking. Camille Vidal, founder of La Maison Wellness was also part of the panel, as was founder of the Sober Girl Society, Millie Gooch.

Founded in 1969, and traditionally a competition for wines and spirits, in 2019 the IWSC expanded to include lower and no alcohol drinks judging. Supporting personal choice for quality and mindful drinking, the full list of medal winners can be found here on the IWSC website.