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Alcohol-Free Tequila – How & Why Mockingbird Spirit Was Created By Fern McCoy

Alcohol-free tequila – they said it couldn’t be done! We spoke to an inspiring young woman, Fern McCoy, who decided to prove the critics wrong. Here’s a guest article from Fern, creator of Mockingbird Spirit, detailing the inspiration behind her alcohol-free tequila. 

Life Before Alcohol-Free Tequila

Way back in the earliest part of my career I worked in various agency type settings whereby it was my role to help entrepreneurs bring their brands to life. Be that through web, design or brand development- I dabbled in a bit of everything.

This led me to work with a drinks brand from their ‘pie in the sky’ idea phase to fruition, ultimately ending with me working in-house with them after leaving the creative agency that helped build their brand. This was though, an alcohol brand.

I am perfectly open to the idea of alcohol and encourage its safe use (however that is framed for each individual personally) however, my own life didn’t quite align because my other half is a recovering alcoholic, sober now for 5 years.

Nothing Against People Drinking Alcohol

Whilst I don’t have anything against people drinking alcohol, I was extremely interested in the world of low/no. As it started to emerge in recent years, I’ve embraced all the ideas and products that came out of it. I was always keen on supporting, buying and elevating the category in my own small way. 

My work in the alcohol industry was never an issue nor problematic, it just wasn’t quite in keeping with my home life.

The Idea Began To Brew

I had toyed with the idea of trying to do something in the alcohol-free space and wondered if potentially my career experience could mean I would end up working for a brand within the industry.

However, I had some ideas of my own, which included launching a booze-free Tequila. Of course, made using the same ingredients as its original counterpart but never letting it ferment to become alcohol.

When my previous role dried up due to the pandemic, I used the time to investigate and research whether it could become a reality. 

I Didn’t Tell Anyone About The Alcohol-Free Tequila Initially

The 2020 lockdown was both a blessing and a curse. It caused my work/ income to almost completely disappear, but it left me the time and energy to focus on my idea and start looking at ways to make it happen.

If nothing else, it was going to be a little project I worked on to keep me focussed during the forced ‘downtime’.

I didn’t tell anyone about my concept and just worked on it behind the scenes. Playing around with ingredients. Drafting up a business plan. Doing some market research and checking if it was viable.

The Research Was Compelling

Developing a product during a pandemic came with its own set of challenges. So, that did make the process a lot more difficult, and at times seem impossible.

I was noticing though the rise in Tequila sales and the reports on how everyone’s alcohol drinking was peaking when spending more time at home. This fuelled the decision further though because as we all know, drinking alcohol continuously is not sustainable.

So, I ascertained that people liked Tequila -TICK. But, people were also suffering the consequences of overdoing it and could potentially benefit from an alternative- TICK.

This gave me the evidence I needed to take things to the next step and start manufacturing my recipe on a commercial level.

A Nod To AF Brands Who Came Before Us

Consumers attitudes and minds have become a lot more open to the non-alc category of late. I attribute that totally to those brands who came before us.

They’ve done a lot of the difficult work of overcoming the preconceptions around the ‘why’ when it comes to drinking zero proof beverages.

A Familiar Feeling

For me, it’s really simple though, for every alcoholic drink there is room for non-alcoholic options.

I liken it in a way to if a vegan or vegetarian stopped eating meat but still enjoyed a plant-based alternative.

We still crave and desire the familiarity of certain products but often the con’s starts to outweigh the pro’s which means it creates space for something that’s similar, just with none of the downsides.

We wouldn’t retort to said vegan/ vegetarian ‘what’s the point?’ of their substitute. That’s where we are hopefully headed with the drinks that can imitate or replace the traditional version.

The Thriving Alcohol-Free Spirit Category

We’ve definitely seen an increase in interest in the no/low arena. Thanks in part to the brands like I mentioned before and also the media for following the trend. ‘’A rising tide lifts all boats’’ as the saying goes.

So, being part of the community and helping to amplify the voices of non-drinkers or people in recovery or those with health problems that don’t allow them to drink alcohol has been integral to the category thriving.

It’s still fairly new, and I would probably be considered late to the party. But, there’s so much room for growth and innovation. I’m just as excited as the customer to see what comes next from brands. 

Long may the AF scene thrive.

This blog was mixed by guest blogger, Fern McCoy. Creator of the innovative alcohol-free tequila drink, Mockingbird Spirit.