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Say Hello to NoLo

Written by Alison Bone

Whether drinking less, looking for a spacer between drinks or abstaining completely, the next generation of NoLo (no and low alcohol) drinks create a pleasurable and sophisticated drinking experience minus the hangover. A perfect fit with the health-conscious lifestyle of the Gold Coast, local brewers, distillers and winemakers have been quick to jump on board.

The NoLo (no and low alcohol) scene is hot right now, fuelled by the mindful drinking trend and the exciting range of premium, innovative products available. “Once considered an afterthought, non-alcoholic options are now in the spotlight as consumers demand the same level of taste and excitement found in their alcoholic counterparts – minus the alcohol,” says Helen McAteer of Witches Falls Winery on Tamborine Mountain. The winery has received critical acclaim for their Bird Dog Alcohol-Removed range which features Sparkling Cuvée, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz, made by winemakers using state-of-the-art techniques to mirror the enjoyment of sipping traditional wines.

Statistics show that 31% of Australians now buy no alcohol products, and beer, as you might expect, tops the list. Sure, non-alcoholic beer has been around for a long time, but these days it tastes good. Take Hiatus, which launched on the Gold Coast in late 2022, with a full flavoured NAPA (Non-Alcoholic Pacific Ale) brimming with tropical aromas and fresh notes of citrus. “Cracking open a crisp, light lager at the beach is part of the trip for many people,” says Jules Ryan, who along with his co- founders – all longstanding beer industry insiders – was driven to develop a beer that could be enjoyed by beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. “One of the areas we love to play around in, is the dry zones across the Gold Coast; whether having a drink at Rainbow Bay or Burleigh Hill to end the day, or finishing off a hike in the hinterland,” he adds.

Spirit lovers don’t miss out either. Enter Catie Fry, founder and master distiller of Clovendoe – Australia’s first female owned and operated distilling company. Crafted in the same way as botanical gins and vodkas, her low and no proof distilled spirits are packed with intoxicating aromas and flavour, and blend beautifully with tonic or soda. The range includes Seed, inspired by Australian botanicals, Sprout, inspired by the Middle Eastern spice trails, and Stem, made with exotic South East Asian botanicals like kaffir lime leaf, ginger and galangal – perfect for whipping up pineapple and coconut cocktails. Each has a choice of zero proof or 24 ABV. “Whether it’s FOMO with your girlfriends, the realisation that drinking five nights a week probably needs a balance, or you need a non-alcoholic prop for the social season, Clovendoe Distilling Co is your new best friend,” says Catie.

Just across the border you’ll also find our southern neighbours at Cape Byron Distillery, have entered the room with their brand new non-alc range - Brookie’s Free Spirited – consisting of two fresh and flavoursome premixes, adding balance to your drinking-repertoire. There’s the G&T with Pink Grapefruit, inspired by their classic dry gin and tonic. And a Blood Orange Spritz - think juicy blood orange with a hint of bitterness, like your favourite Italian aperitivo.

Catch the functional buzz

What if we could get a buzz from non-alcoholic drinks? That’s the goal of functional drinks, infused with plant-based extracts that create a positive effect on the mind and body. “It’s about replacing the need for alcohol in social settings, whilst making sure we never lose those good times,” say Jack Freestone and Alana Blanchard, co-founders of Dayse Functional Spritzers. Drinks with names like Awaken and Easing contain mood enhancing adaptogens – like gingko, passionflower and turmeric root, and nootropics (cognitive enhancers) which create an elevating effect and encourage calmness.

Hard Fizz, who have a tap room in Burleigh, launched their Fizz Functional range in 2023. Fronted by Darling, Shine! Podcast hosts Chloe Fisher and Ellidy Pullin, the brand expected significant interest, but were blown away by demand, selling out all 4800 cans in 12 hours. Try zero sugar Berry Boost Glow with marine collagen and Pink Lemonade Dialled in, loaded with guarana and ginseng to improve stamina and concentration.

Memorable Mocktails

“Gone are the days of a terrible tasting mocktail or watery low alcohol beer,” says Dave Galvin, the Gold Coast restaurateur behind Kōst and newly opened Kirra Beach House. Here’s where to find delicious mocktails alongside more traditional boozy libations.

Kirra Beach House - Soak up the gorgeous ocean views with a Rosa Spritz or a Tropical Saturn Supernova – think passionfruit, pistachio, tropical spices, cacao and lemon.

Roosevelt Lounge - This prohibition-style cocktail bar in Broadbeach has an enticing list of Lyre’s non- alcoholic cocktails, including a sensational Amaretto Sour, and a Negroni.

Justin Lane - Head up to the Burleigh rooftop for sourdough pizza and a fragrant Hibiscus Highball blending hibiscus, rosemary, honey, orange blossom and peach bitters.

Discover Sobah

There’s no need for a designated driver when you visit Sobah Brewery, Australia’s first dedicated alcohol-free brewery which opened in Burleigh Heads in 2023. Proudly Aboriginal owned, Sobah’s bush tucker-inspired craft beers are made with ethically sourced ingredients and include Lemon Aspen Pilsner, Finger Lime Cerveza and Pepperberry IPA. Join a brewery tour, or head into the native food cafe for a Crocodile Burger, Sweet Lemon Myrtle Eggplant and side of Damper with wattleseed butter – washed down with as many ice cold brews as you fancy.


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