New releases

Four Pillars gets on the zero alcohol bandwagon

Four Pillars Distillery has introduced two zero-alcohol gins to its range, Bandwagon Dry and Bloody Bandwagon.

Two years of crafting, testing, tasting and perfecting went into creating the products, which are spin offs of two of the distiller’s most popular and iconic gins in a booze-free spirit.

It’s a canny move. According to the latest data from IWSR (January 2022) shows the no and low-alcohol sector is slated to outpace the total alcohol category by 2025 and project to increase by 31% by 2024

Already 43% of adults who buy no and low-ABV drinks use them as substitutes for full-strength products, rather than abstaining from alcohol.

The no/low alcohol category in Australia expected to grow by 16% per cent from 2020 to 2024. 

Tim Carroll, Endeavour Group Director Buying & Merchandise said: “Customers are increasingly asking for alcohol-free options, and zero alcohol products remain one of the fastest growing categories across our BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores; we’ve seen a 150% increase in sales in the last 24 months.”

Four Pillars admitted creating the products probably the single biggest challenge it has faced since it started making gin in 2013, because technically, the product isn’t gin. Gin has to have alcohol in it (37% minimum in Australia), so to make something the distillers loved with the key ingredient missing was tricky.

As a starting point Four Pillars used the same ten botanicals that make up its Rare Dry Gin. The oils and flavours from the majority of the botanicals including juniper, lemon myrtle and coriander seed were extracted using steam distillation. Each was distilled separately to control their flavour contribution and quality, then they were mixed together with a water base.

Then there were the components that come naturally to alcohol but not so naturally to a non-alcoholic spirit – it’s the heat and weight. To bring in some of that heat, Four Pillars steamed and vacuumed fresh chilli, and to replicate some of that weight, they turned to a natural fructose that is found in plants.

In the same way that Rare Dry Gin is the base of Bloody Shiraz Gin, Bandwagon Dry is the base of Bloody Bandwagon. So it’s that clear Bandwagon Dry liquid with the addition of one very special ingredient, Shiraz juice.

To make Bloody Bandwagon, they used Shiraz grapes, but because they haven’t been fermented, there’s no alcohol. The Shiraz juice concentrate was mixed in with the Bandwagon Dry base to create Bloody Bandwagon.

Co-founder and distiller Cameron Mackenzie said: “When we launched in 2013 never in our wildest dreams did we think we would make a non-alcoholic product. But as we’ve grown older and wiser, booze is not always your go-to and you a need quality alternative. Enter Bandwagon.”

“Bandwagon Dry has been modelled on our original gin, Rare Dry Gin, which has become something of a benchmark for modern, citrus-forward gins with a combination of Middle Eastern, Asian, and local Australian botanicals. Bandwagon Dry follows the same path – just without the booze.

“Aromas of orange and lemon myrtle are obvious, and on the palate, there are notes of spice and some warmth. Not from alcohol, but from a heavier load of botanicals. This is a botanical-based, alcohol-free spirit destined for a booze-free G&T.

“Use around 60mL of Bandwagon Dry with 100mL of your favourite tonic. As ever use plenty of ice and an orange slice as a garnish.”

On Bloody Bandwagon, Cameron said: “In Bloody Bandwagon we have created an alcohol-free base of highly concentrated Shiraz and then added complexity with the addition of many of our favourite botanicals including Tasmanian pepperberry leaf and several types of citrus.

“This is a unique, purple, and slightly sweet alcohol-free spirit that you can use just as you would your Bloody Shiraz Gin. Combine 60mL of Bloody Bandwagon with 100mL of tonic or soda and you’ll have yourself a deliciously grown-up, booze-free drink.”

Bandwagon variants can be used in the same way as ‘regular’ Four Pillars gins, but the distillery suggests a bit more liberally to allow the flavour of the non-alcoholic spirit to shine through.

Use your favourite mixers or create a cocktail using Bandwagon where you would normally add Four Pillars Gin and be generous with your garnishes.

Bandwagon Dry and Bloody Bandwagon will be available from the Four Pillars Gin Shops at the Four Pillars Healesville Distillery and Surry Hills Laboratory, and from BoozeBud, Coles Local, Dan Murphy’s, IGA, Liquorland and Sans Drinks from the end of June. Bandwagon Dry will also be available from First Choice Liquor, Vintage Cellars, and Woolworths.

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Categories: New releases