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Responsible local entrepreneurs tap into the non-alcoholic spirit market

More and more people are turning to the sober life and mocktails are a big hit. Picture: Supplied

More and more people are turning to the sober life and mocktails are a big hit. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 30, 2022


Johannesburg - The popularity of non-alcoholic drinks seems to be growing at a steady pace. This is evidenced by the number of beer and gin beverages that have a non-alcoholic variation or the increasing popularity of mocktails and cocktails that contain zero alcohol.

Reasons vary as to why individuals make the choice to consume non-alcoholic beverages, but the most popular are for health reasons, and some people just want to cut down their alcoholic consumption. On social media the hashtag “sober life” has a big drawcard.

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Those who choose to have Heineken 0 or a virgin mojito at social drinking occasions are no longer met with raised eyebrows or bewildered looks by friends and colleagues.

Naturally, as this market begins to expand and flourish, brands need to cater to the growing demand for non-alcoholic beverages.

This is where entrepreneurs such as Lungile and Anele Sikakana come in.

The husband and wife duo has created South Africa’s first 100% black-owned non-alcoholic beverage company, delivering what they describe as “premium and sophisticated alcohol-free beverages for the discerning palate that are rooted in natural ingredients”.

As entrepreneurs, Lungile and Anele have always wanted to use their businesses as a tool for the good of the world, all the while keeping up with market trends, and they have been successful in achieving both with the launch of their non-alcoholic Iconic Citric Rose drink.

As South Africans, we are aware of the role alcohol plays in the societal ills faced by the country, and there is consensus that we need to revisit our relationship with alcohol.

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“What we’ve tried to do is create a beverage that resonates with the future drinking habits of consumers”.

“Being iconic is about making bold decisions that go against the grain. Icons stand apart from the crowd and take the road less travelled. Their choices make them Iconic. Our products are positioned to be an extension of our consumers' unique lifestyles”, says Anele.

Anele highlights that sustainability plays a pivotal role in producing their products.

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She added: “Any product we produce or any business venture we embark on going forward, we want it to be rooted in sustainability. Because sustainability ultimately talks about looking after resources and making sure there is enough for the next generation.”

Anele, a former Miss South Africa finalist, has experience working for some of the most prominent Retail & FMCG companies in South Africa, namely, Edward Snell & Co. (Wine; Spirit Merchant), Spar Retail Group, and British American Tobacco, is at present completing her master’s in marketing management; her dissertation topic focusing on the perceived value and purchase intention of sustainable luxury amongst millennials in South Africa.

Lungile recently completed a course in Sustainable Business Strategy through the Harvard Business School to gain more insight into how best to incorporate sustainable practices into day-to-day business processes.

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Anele advises budding entrepreneurs to look in their immediate environment for ideas when considering starting a business.

“My message to young females and males alike is always to start looking within. Start looking around your community or social setting to see if there are any burning problems that you can hopefully come up with a solution for, and hopefully, the issues you identify will be aligned with your passions,”

Find ways that you can monetise your passions or the ideas that you have of how can improve things that already exist. Let’s be honest entrepreneurship is not about reinventing the wheel. It’s about identifying what could be the most mundane problem that you face. Find a solution for it and create a business around that,” says Anele.