WATCH: ‘High quality, no alcohol’: UAE’s first non-alcoholic online drink marketplace Drink Dry takes first foray into supermarkets

By Guan Yu Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Uae, non-alcoholic, Supermarket, Choithrams

The UAE’s first premium non-alcoholic drinks online marketplace, Drink Dry, has entered the retail space with its first partner, supermarket chain Choithrams, with the firm exploiting a gap in the market for sophisticated booze-free offerings.

The company started off as an e-commerce store in December 2020, selling non-alcoholic beer, sparkling wine, still wine, and booze-free spirits, mainly imported from Europe.

The partnership will see Drink Dry retail its full range of non-alcoholic drinks across five Choithrams stores in Dubai.

The company is hoping to retail its products across all of Choithrams’ stores by September this year. Choithrams has over 40 stores in the UAE.

Commenting on this collaboration, Kirti Meghnani, head of retail procurement at Choithrams, said: “At Choithrams, we follow consumer trends very closely and it has become evident to us during 2020 that there is a shift in what consumers are looking to buy in the beverage category. We are delighted to work with Drink Dry and to be able to offer our valued customers the best that the non-alcohol drinks category has to offer in the UAE.”  

With about four months of trading, Drink Dry has seen sales grow three times month-on-month on its e-commerce store.

Personal project

Founder Erika Doyle told FoodNavigator-Asia​: “We're trying to build a community around the zero-alcohol movement (in UAE)​”

Doyle moved to the UAE from UK in 2019, and observed a gap in the market for non-alcoholic drinks.

She personally quit alcohol several years ago to start a family, and back then, UK’s no to low alcohol category was flourishing, “We had options for non-alcoholic wine, beer or spirits, so we don’t feel left out at social gathering​s.”

However, when she came to UAE, there were no sophisticated, non-alcoholic drink for adults, only sweet mocktails served in restaurants as an alternative for alcohol.

So, she established Drink Dry to bring this category to UAE consumers: “(When we first came to the UAE), We saw that people were aware of what was available in the West and they were ready for good quality non-alcoholic products. But the products were not available for them​.”

There are several alcohol retailers in UAE stocking non-alcoholic products, but Drink Dry is the first and only non-alcoholic drinks marketplace in the UAE.

It hopes to offer an option for many groups of people, including pregnant women, people who avoid alcohol due to religion, fitness or health reasons.

COVID-19 impact

Doyle added that the pandemic had hit supply chains: “We source our drinks from Europe and UK, but because of the pandemic, factories were shut down. We also work with smaller brands who outsource their manufacturing, but they were also struggling to find places that would manufacture. Shipping was also very difficult​.”

Instead, she used to time to work on making its products compliant to the UAE market.

All of our products have Arabic labeling on it, and we worked together with Dubai authorities to make sure that they were happy with our product description and our imports​.”

Between now and September, Doyle aims to stock another 15 brands.

Products

Among its product lineup, Doyle said its best-selling product is a Belgian blonde beer marketed under the Biere des Amis brand.

Its sparkling wine, Vintense Prestige, has also received positive feedback from customers who claim it taste like a non-alcoholic Prosecco with a dry and crisp mouthfeel.

Doyle told us she hopes to expand into Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait by September this year, and  is currently in discussions with suppliers in Australia and America to expand its product portfolio.

Drink Dry also supplies to over 20 hotels and restaurants in the UAE.

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