Small Business

How NON is redefining drinking with its non-alcoholic wine alternative

- July 11, 2022 3 MIN READ

When Aaron Trotman moved from country Victoria to the big smoke of Melbourne at the age of 18, he was introduced to a world of food and drink he had never imagined.

“I was instantly hooked,” Trotman tells Kochie’s Business Builders.

“It took a while to get the country out of me – I couldn’t believe people ate raw fish – but as I tried more and more, my palette developed through dining experiences. The deeper I delved into the culinary world, the more my thirst and hunger for exploration increased.”

Years later, Trotman’s thirst to dive deeper into the world of culinary delights saw him travel to Europe with his wife (a teetotaller), on a tour that had them eating and drinking at some of the finest establishments across the continent.

“My wife and I ate our way through Europe, where we experienced sophisticated non-alcohol pairings. I continued to explore non-alcohol pairing menus at hatted restaurants in Melbourne, where I realised you couldn’t buy this level of drink in a bottle.”

It was with this thought that NON was born.

Aaron Trotman, founder of non-alcoholic drinks brand, NON

Aaron Trotman, NON founder

A fresh new take on the non-alcoholic offering

Trotman describes NON as a wine alternative.

“The flavour is built from the ground up. We view wine as having four main components that relate to food: fruit, tannin, salinity and acid. We use real food, cooked and prepared in our facility in Melbourne, to redefine the wine occasion. A delicious full-bodied drink, without compromise, served in a wine glass, which works perfectly alongside food,” he explains.

Trotman says, unlike other non-alcoholic offerings, NON “cooks the flavour in – not strips the flavour out”.

He tells KBB that where other non-alcoholic beverages often try to mimic traditional alcoholic drinks NON is not trying to mock or mimic anything that already exists.

“Nobody in the world is cooking natural produce and turning them into drinks like NON is. We solve the problem for non-alcoholic wine occasions in an interesting and unique way, with a flavour-first approach. NON creates a new experience – something we’re all really proud of.”

Trotman says developing the flavour profiles for NON was “a brutally painful process”.

“We first work out the ingredients we think would be interesting, and will challenge what people would expect for flavour combinations. We then go into flavour development, breaking down what part of the flavour of the ingredients we want to isolate.

“From here, we have an understanding of what cooking technique we will need to prepare the ingredients we’ve chosen, to extract maximum flavour, but delicately nuanced. A dehydrated orange is very different from orange juice …”

Trotman says they then go through some 50-plus iterations to get the nuance right. This can mean roasting, cooking, dehydrating and stewing real food.

“Each technique gives a completely different flavour,” he says.

NON non-alcoholic wine alternative drinks

Alcohol-free boom

Until recently, drinking culture seemed embedded in the Australian psyche, but over the past decade we have seen a shift away, with more and more adults opting to imbibe alcohol-free.

Trotman believes it’s a conscious decision to pursue a more balanced lifestyle, to improve our physical and mental wellbeing. Plus, enjoying an alcohol-free beverage no longer means having to resort to sparkling grape juice …

“The non-alcoholic options are much better now than five years ago. Discerning drinkers and adults who are not drinking for whatever reason, no longer fall victim to soft drinks because of their lifestyle choices,” Trotman says.

It’s a trend he believes will only continue to strengthen.

“The quality will keep improving and the category will become more sophisticated. As a result, consumers will begin to understand the value of original brands as opposed to mimic brands.”

It’s Dry July – why not celebrate with friends and enjoy a tipple from NON? Find out more about NON here.

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