Straight & Narrow range

Straight & Narrow plans to launch six 0% drinks ahead of Dry January, with a RTD range in cans and bottles in develpment

Low & no challenger brand Straight & Narrow has raised almost £180k in a crowdfunding round as it readies a launch of a portfolio of premium non-alcoholic spirits ahead of Dry January.

The business, which attracted 120 investors on the Seedrs platform, will first bring six 70cl drinks to market, priced at £15 a bottle, with a further seven to follow.

Online retailer Masters of Malt agreed to list the products from launch, with Straight & Narrow also approaching the supermarkets and discounters in the hopes of securing further distribution.

The first six drinks to be launched are 0% Italian Aperitivo in the style of Aperol, a Pimms-style Summer Punch and four gin drinks in Classic, Rhubarb & Ginger, Cucumber & Mint and Mixed Berry flavours.

Seven further varieties will reimagine tequila, rum, whisky and Baileys.

The business, which counts former Iceland MD Nigel Broadhurst as an independent non-executive director, also has a ready-to-drink range of bottles and cans in development and has plans to supply non-alcoholic own-label spirits to retailers.

Founder Jason Stoneham, a food & drinks industry veteran who has worked at Fox’s Biscuits, Premier Foods, Weetabix, Twinings and Finsbury Food Group, said he was “really pleased” with the momentum the brand was gaining.

He told The Grocer that the business had also appointed Jon Hopkins as head of on-trade on a consultancy basis.

Hopkins was most recently as sales director for Warner’s Distillery, where he drove the growth of the Warner’s brand to become the UK’s largest independent gin distiller.

“Jons’ experience in growing challenger brands and launching NPD will help us accelerate our growth plans,” Stoneham said.

The low & no alcohol category continues to grow at a rapid pace, with UK grocery sales up 51% to £217.1m in the past year, according to The Grocer’s latest report on the sector [Kantar 52 w/e 21 February 2021].