A Chat with Bonnie Hatcher, Managing Director of ZAG Drinks, Brewers of the World’s First ‘Social Soft’

Brewed the UK, ZAG is the world’s first ‘Social Soft’ and is the perfect refreshment when you’re not drinking, or cutting back. Whether that’s catching up with friends in a restaurant to after-work drinks.

ZAG is a low sugar, refreshingly light and healthy, no-alcohol drink that is free from: alcohol, stress, artificial sweeteners, hangovers and anxiety.


ZAG logo


Tell Us About ZAG Drinks, How Did It Start?

ZAG Drinks was founded in 2020, when we identified a gaping hole in the soft drinks market that could only be filled by a brand new concept and flavour. The drinks market was becoming increasingly saturated with both alcohol-free versions of drinks – such as beer and wine – as well as sweet soft drinks.

We wanted a product that would look and taste like an adult drink, but without being a disappointing alternative to an alcoholic drink or packed full of sugar or sweeteners. ZAG is an adult, long-drink like nothing you’ve ever tasted before, that can be drunk in quantity and is low in sugar and low in calories.



What Makes ZAG Different From Other No-Lo Drinks?

ZAG offers customers a sophisticated combination of distinctive flavours; instead of replicating the standard alcohol-free drink experience, ZAG’s key ingredients include a complex blend of green tea, cucumber, citrus, mint, kombucha and natural hemp flavouring to create a unique taste.

As well as being a refreshing drink, ZAG’s other USPs compared to other drinks within the NoLo and soft drink markets include that it’s both low sugar and low calorie and completely free of artificial sweeteners.


What Challenges Have You Faced?

Launching a drink into hospitality just as we were hit by a global pandemic and lockdown was certainly a challenge! Although, in some ways the pandemic may have been a blessing in disguise as being a small business we were able to pivot to use the lockdown period to our full advantage.

First and foremost, we deliberately opted to run a low-cost base business. We out-sourced everything. If not, we could have found ourselves running out of cash and going under. Revenue interruption does not affect you quite so much if you have a low-cost base.

When you have plans and timelines, as we did back at the start of 2020 before Covid struck, you don’t have time to stop and put your foot on the ball, to pause and evaluate. We had some production challenges to resolve. The pandemic gave us the space to isolate the main issue, which we solved by changing the tea variety.

Other than that, we’re challenged with peoples’ preconceived notions around the drinks market. Henry Ford famously said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” – and similarly we hear people asking for “better alcohol-free beer” rather than identifying that a completely new drinks category would open up a huge opportunity for entirely new products. So the challenge has been to help people understand that there is more choice and there are more categories available than just your run-of-the-mill options. However, this is also motivating as it pushes us to reach as many people as possible to introduce ‘Social Softs’.


What Can We Hope To See From ZAG Drinks in the Future?

Short term, we’re really excited to be stocked at both Summer By The River and Vinegar Yard in London Bridge; as well as helping us to explore a new sales channel, it’s great to hear feedback from happy customers in real-time too. We’re also working to perfect our signature flavour alongside exploring new recipes. Simultaneously, we are continuing to diversify our sales channels across the UK to lay strong foundations for our long-term, international growth plans.

In terms of our positioning within the industry, as well as expanding our team and presence, it’s also our aim to continue to educate both consumers and trade contacts around the importance of offering a diverse range of non-alcoholic drinks that cater to a broad spectrum of preferences and palettes. Non-alcoholic drink menus should be prioritised just as much as alcoholic choices: it’s our mission to take the pressure out of social occasions by offering a healthier, tastier alternative to other drinks on the market.