Rival House offers a guide on enjoying non-alcoholic drinks

A campaign aims to tap demand for premium options by showing consumers they don't have to sacrifice quality or drinking rituals.


As more young people are turning away from alcohol for health reasons, they are turning towards non-alcoholic versions of beverages they previously enjoyed, be it to still feel included in social situations or simply to continue their rituals.

To satisfy that consumer need in a premium version of that space, Rival House has launched a new marketing effort showing that even though the alcohol might not be in its products, everything else is still largely the same.

The Toronto-based DTC company offers alcohol-free wines, beers and spirits, including organic and Halal-certified options.

A new digitally-lead campaign consists of a series of tounge-in-cheek instructional videos showing consumers how to, for example, properly swirl or uncork their non-alcoholic wine – and the fact that it is exactly the same is the point.

“Our angle was to put a humorous spin on those videos,” says Rival House founder David Pierson. “But there is a lack of education in the non-alcoholic space, which is something we are taking very seriously.”

Of course, part of what consumers are also looking for is taste and quality, and one thing Rival House is aiming to dispel is the prevailing notion being that non-alcoholic wine and beers aren’t as enjoyable. Pierson tells strategy that the brand is aiming to provide better premium options for non-alcoholic products – while variety is robust in the U.S., options are lacking in Canada, which spurred the brand launch and effort to service the market.

“The one we are really behind is Win,” Pierson says, referring to a Spanish winery that has its own vineyard and its own unique de-alcoholization process. “We scoured the globe to find alcohol-free wines, beers and spirits that are every bit as refined, refreshing and flavourful as their traditional counterparts.”

Online, Rival House also provides detailed descriptions of the vineyards, breweries and distilleries for the products they source along with flavour pairings and tasting notes. And given that many people are unaware it can be a longer, more involved process to create alcohol-free beverages, it offers details about this as well, something that resonates with consumers who are increasingly interested in where their food and beverages come from.

The brand cites spikes in online searches for “mocktails,” and also data from spirits giant Bacardi, which says the space is expected to grow 400% over the next four years, driven largely by consumers under 35.

With that younger demo, Pierson, who is himself 24, says he can understand that mindset they are in. And it also doesn’t have to be a teetotal approach – many people don’t want to drink a 12-pack in one or two sittings, he says, but are likely to mix up both offerings.

Pierson says that for now, it’ll stick with its direct-to-consumer business, but will eventually be looking to expand to on-premise and bricks-and-mortar lines of business once those channels get back to normal.

The campaign was devised by agency Bob’s Your Uncle, with which Rival House has been working since December, including on a recent rebranding effort.