British restaurateur and events caterer Searcys has announced a new sommelier training initiative for 2020, focusing on non-alcoholic pairings to match with lunch and dinner menus.
The company cites research suggests that more consumers are drinking no and low ABV drinks, seeing a £22.4 million growth with a reported 20.4% of consumers now opting for a teetotal lifestyle*.
61% of drinkers** are looking for more choice when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, and 67% reported they are proactively trying to lead a healthier lifestyle***.
Searcys says that despite this change in drinking culture, there is currently a lack of worthwhile paired drinks and dishes for those adopting tee-total or sober curious lifestyles.
Leading the new training programme will be Searcys Beverage Ambassador Joel Claustre, who will first introduce the new pairing alternatives at St Pancras Brasserie and Champagne Bar this year, with the aim to roll out across all Searcys’ venues.
Suggested pairing alternatives will include Big Drop, a naturally brewed low-alcohol craft beer, which uses over 20 speciality grains across its range, and pairs well with dishes including a refreshing quinoa, avocado and pink grapefruit salad.
Also, Real Kombucha is gaining popularity, with Searcys mixologists working to create kombucha-based cocktails as part of a non-alcoholic pairing menu. Kombucha works well as a wine alternative to dishes such as chargrilled chicken with lemon and couscous. Other serves will include the light and refreshing Sister’s Soda from Franklins and Sons Ltd; a collection of low-calorie sodas crafted with only natural ingredients and a touch of British sugar beet instead of sweeteners
St Pancras by Searcys regularly hosts Champagne schools – alongside wine pairings to their menus, the restaurant and bar will now offer the same level of expertise to non-alcoholic beverages for their diners, which will be available on their all-day menus, as well as for private events and group bookings in the private dining spaces.
Searcys Joel Claustre said: “At Searcys, we pride ourselves on delivering the best service and experience to all of our guests. With the continued rise of non-drinkers, we believe it is key for there to also be suitable drink alternatives available which do not compromise on flavour or quality, and I am both proud and excited to be leading the way with our St Pancras Champagne Bar and Brasserie and extend the range to the entire Searcys venue and restaurant portfolio.”