Can Seedlip sustain the hype?

To many, the idea of a non-alcoholic spirit seems somewhat redundant. But as Kit Kriewaldt discovers in the latest issue of BARS&clubs, bartenders are finding novel ways to incorporate products like Seedlip into their drinks offering.

Australians of a certain vintage can tell you straight away that “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink” is Clayton’s. Even many of my own generation, with no experience of the drink itself, know that if something is ‘Clayton’s’, then it is not exactly what it claims to be – whether it’s an apparently healthy meal, a legal contract, or a car salesman.

Despite earning its place in Australian slang, very few people can tell you what Clayton’s is made of, or whether it tastes any good. The slogan proved more enduring than the product, which is as hard to find now as Clayton’s drinkers were back in the 1970s.

Seedlip, the British pioneer of the bourgeoning nonalcoholic drinks category, launched in Australia last year with a familiar tagline: “what to drink when you’re not drinking.” No doubt the resemblance to Clayton’s is unintentional. While Clayton’s is essentially a cola-flavoured soft drink without the fizz, masquerading as whisky, Seedlip is a non-alcoholic distilled spirit – the world’s first, in fact. The idea is old, but the method is new.

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