Following two years of crafting, testing, tasting and perfecting, the team at Four Pillars has entered the non-alcoholic beverage market by creating two new “gin” products – without incorporating gin.
Bandwagon Dry and Bloody Bandwagon are becoming two of Four Pillars’ most popular and iconic gins in a booze-free spirit.
Four Pillars describes these new additions as the single biggest challenge they have faced since the company’s inception in 2013. Gin must have alcohol in it (37 per cent minimum in Australia), so to make something good great with the key ingredient missing was no small feat.
The distiller used the same ten botanicals that make up its Rare Dry Gin. It’s how we extract those flavours, plus the obvious lack of alcohol, which make this liquid different from its muse.
The oils and flavours from most of the botanicals including juniper, lemon myrtle and coriander seed are extracted using steam distillation. Each are distilled separately to control the flavour contribution and quality, then mixed with a water base.
The components that come naturally to alcohol but not so naturally to a non-alcoholic spirit are heat and weight. To accumulate some of that heat, Four Pillars steamed and vacuumed fresh chilli, and replicated the weight using a natural fructose found in plants.
In the same way that Rare Dry Gin is the base of Bloody Shiraz Gin, Bandwagon Dry is the base of Bloody Bandwagon. So, it’s that clear Bandwagon Dry liquid with the addition of Shiraz juice.
To make Bloody Bandwagon, Four Pillars used Shiraz grapes but because they haven’t been fermented, there’s no alcohol. So, the same Shiraz flavour and colour is achieved, without the alcohol.
“When we launched in 2013, never in our wildest dreams did we think we would make a non-alcoholic product,” Four Pillars co-founder and distiller Cameron Mackenzie said. “But as we’ve grown older and wiser, booze is not always your go-to and you a need quality alternative. Enter Bandwagon.”
According to Endeavour Group director Buying & Merchandise, Tim Carroll, the group supported the need for alternatives in the market.
“Customers are increasingly asking for alcohol-free options, and zero alcohol products remain one of the fastest growing categories across our BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores; we’ve seen a 150 percent increase in sales in the last 24 months,” Carroll said.
Four Pillars’ Bandwagon variants can be used in the same way as “regular” Four Pillars gins, but the distiller suggests being a bit more liberal to allow the flavour of the non-alcoholic spirit to shine through.
Bandwagon Dry and Bloody Bandwagon will be available from the Four Pillars Gin Shops at the Four Pillars Healesville Distillery and Surry Hills Laboratory, and from BoozeBud, Coles Local, Dan Murphy’s, IGA, Liquorland and Sans Drinks from the end of June. Bandwagon Dry will also be available from First Choice Liquor, Vintage Cellars and Woolworths.