Spencer and Neil from Mull Cafe paid a visit to Brunswick Aces, a Zero proof bar in Brunswick, Melbourne. In addition to being a very cool bar, they distil their own gin (both alcohol and non-alcohol versions) and also wholesale a lot of zero-proof drinks that are sold within Mull. We interviewed one of their Founders, Steve,
How did you get into the Zero Proof industry?
As a team we were drawn into the non-alcohol industry through alcohol! As friends we were drinking and distilling our own products at home. Socially, for us, it became what we bonded over; food and drink. But when a couple of the team stopped drinking we lost that connection. So, since we were making our own drinks we thought, why can't we make a non-alcoholic drink with all the same hallmarks as our gin, and with beautiful aromatics, to make our own delicious cocktails - just no alcohol!
Describe Brunswick Aces In 3 Words
Moderation, Family & Inclusivity
We often see ourselves as more of a family than a business. We started out as three couples who were neighbours when we originally founded the business. And the reason we came together was because of what we affectionately called “The Commune”. So, it was an extended family of friends. And friends, after all, are the family you choose.
What excites you about the zero-proof industry?
The fact that it’s a new industry and there is so much open water. Along with other wonderful manufacturers, we are reinventing what is already an exciting ‘Spirits’ category and getting to shape a new area of hospitality
What do you recommend for drinkers who want to explore no-alcohol?
If they’re an alcohol drinker I recommend they consider what they normally drink and find something similar. It's a really easy way of easing yourself into the sector. For example, if you’re a gin drinker than I suggest our Brunswick Aces gin which comes in both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version.
What are the challenges facing the industry?
The stratification of the industry, which I think has to happen. There are premium products which are made much like ours, with 100% distilled natural botanicals containing no additives or synthetic compounds. However, there are other products that are lower quality but essential as entry level, cheaper products. It's similar, in a way, to craft beer verses a mainstream beer. People understand the quality and passion that go into making premium products. The challenge is making consumers aware it’s the same within the Zero proof industry.
What are your hopes for the future of no-alcohol?
The future for no alcohol is going to be set alongside its alcohol counterparts. The data shows that 80% of people who drink non-alcoholic drinks also drink alcohol. So, we’re appealing to a subset of the existing alcohol community. They’re the same people who, perhaps on a Saturday, will drink alcohol but on a Monday prefer to have a zero proof drink. We consider them side-by-side, not competing. We’re simply offering an alternative that wasn’t available before.