Suffolk's one-stop-shop for alcohol-free drinks
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
With 2022 just on the horizon, it’s once again that time of year when people start to mull over their New Year’s resolutions, wondering how they can better themselves and improve their lifestyles.
Many of us want to get fitter, be more organised, or give up smoking.
But what if you want to give up or cut back how much alcohol you drink?
If the thought of cutting down your alcohol consumption makes you uneasy, never fear, as one Bury St Edmunds couple have come up with a solution.
Former teacher Scott Gaskin and his wife Siobhan are the proud owners of Zero Inc, a market stall that prides itself on only stocking tipples that are low and alcohol-free. Think between 0% and 0.5% ABV.
But what was the inspiration behind such a venture?
“It was widely reported that during lockdown a lot of people were drinking more at home than they usually would as they couldn’t go out – and my wife and I certainly fell into that bracket,” Scott explains.
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In fact, statistics published in peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ Open found that 36% of adults increased their alcohol consumption during the first lockdown.
“We decided we couldn’t go on as we were, so we wanted to explore what options and alternatives were available.”
Uninspired by the flavourless corporate offerings on supermarket shelves, the two decided to look further afield – and were surprised by what they found.
“It turns out there’s a lot out there, but you have to look quite hard for it. And that’s essentially how the business came about - we wanted to offer other people a much broader range of alcohol-free beverages.”
And thus, Zero Inc. was born – and it prides itself on going far beyond alcohol-free beers and wines.
“We sell everything from non-alcoholic beers, wines and ciders to botanicals, fizzes and spirits.”
Scott works with a number of British stockists who supply him with a wide range of health-conscious tipples, and believes supporting local traders is more important than ever right now.
Among the suppliers he’s working alongside is Big Drop - an Ipswich-based independent brewer who have won a number of awards for their teetotal craft beers.
“We’re always looking to work with new people, and just recently a Cornish company got in touch with us out of the blue. They wanted us to stock their goods, which was incredible as they only retail in high end places such as Harrods, Selfridges, Soho House, and Fortnum and Masons,” he adds.
So what’s on offer at Zero Inc besides beers and wines?
“Currently, we’ve got two gin alternatives which you can mix with a good quality tonic, and garnish as normal. We’ve also got a whiskey alternative which is like an American bourbon, and a great dark rum you can mix with coke or ginger ale.
“We’ve also got some beautiful botanicals made from lots of different herbs and seaweed, and we’re expecting a delivery of a non-alcoholic version Baileys and an amaretto alternative soon, too,” he says.
With such a variety of health-conscious tipples on offer, the booze-free market has certainly grown in the last few years.
But it’s not just for those who wish to go teetotal, as moderation is certainly key, according to Scott.
“That’s the thing, I haven’t completely given up drinking – but I like to mix it up in an evening. Rather than have a whole bottle of wine, you can switch and have a few glasses of non-alcoholic wine. It’s lower in calories and overall better for you.”
The duo – who have been trading since the end of September – have already had a great reception at Bury Market, and have big plans for the future.
“We’ve been really busy, and people are really positive. Some people are surprised, they’re a little bit confused when they see the stall and realise everything is alcohol-free, but business is growing, especially as we head into Christmas and people look towards Dry January.
“We’re interested in potentially opening a physical shop, but we need to make sure the business is secure and ready first. In the meantime, we plan to do non-alcoholic events such as baby showers, so people can have a drink safely and not have to worry about alcohol.”
To find out more about Zero Inc., visit facebook.com/zeroincorporated and @zeroinc2021 on Twitter and Instagram.