Evolving Varietals: The story of Copenhagen Sparkling Tea
As we celebrate Enotria&Coe’s 50th anniversary in 2022, we want to reflect on how the wine world has changed. Even as Enotria&Coe grew and evolved, the industry we operate in was also undergoing radical changes. In this blog post, we hear how Bo Sten Hansen, the founder of Copenhagen Sparkling Tea, which was the avant-garde of the low & no movement, came up with what seemed like a radical idea in 2011.
Anyone who has watched Mad Men (and maybe even everyone who hasn’t) knows that the 1960s was all about drinking in high quantities and high frequencies. It took a lot of time, political will, and health campaigns to change consumption habits. One of the campaigns that we might be familiar with today is “Dry January”, which was invented in 2014. And while January has become a popular month for people to cut back or abstain from alcohol, interest in no- and low-alcoholic beverages has increasingly become an evergreen trend around the world.
In 2011 Sparkling Tea was developed by the award-winning sommelier Jacob Kocemba, during his time at a Michelin restaurant in Copenhagen. Despite having access to an enviable wine cellar of more than 1,700 wines, he had one seemingly insurmountable challenge of finding a suitable wine to pair with a specific dessert. In looking for solutions, he realized the many possibilities within the world of tea. Eventually, his ideal dessert pairing was a homemade tea extract, which consisted of a blend of exclusive teas. A new category was invented as he watched the new drink become a great success, and a favorite amongst the guests of the restaurant.
At this precise time, Bo could see that open-mindedness towards new drinks categories was improving. The 2010s marked a turning point in sommeliers incorporating alternative drinks into their food and wine pairings, and every premium restaurant started developing an alcohol-free drinks menu.
Pioneers then saw the same potential and demand in the spirits category and started to rethink where this trend could go next. Most famously, Seedlip introduced their 0% spirits alternatives in 2014. Fast-forward almost a decade, and we see demand for the no and low category growing rapidly. And this is not limited to Denmark, as Copenhagen Sparkling Tea now is listed in over 75 Michelin starred restaurants across 35 countries.
Doubtless, the parallel phenomenon of reprioritizing healthy living, natural products, and environmental consciousness has affected the drinks industry and boosted the low & no category. With non-alcoholic products now relatively well-established, the team at Copenhage Sparkling Tea are convinced that the next “big thing” in drinks will be in the low alcohol space. We wouldn’t be surprised if the next ten years saw the emergence of more low alcohol brands, such as wines with an ABV of 5-7%, or spirits with an ABV of 15%. There could well be innovative and brand-new sub-categories too.
More and more, we hear that consumers care less about how much they drink, and are increasingly intentional about the quality of what they drink.
How different would the Don Draper character be if someone were to rewrite the series and set it in the 2030s?