A NEW Scottish beer company has hailed a 500 per cent sales growth in just a few months of launching its range of alcohol-free lager and ale.

Citing a move towards more healthy lifestyles during the pandemic as well as a general shift in people’s tastes and habits, Edinburgh-based Days has produced 200,000 bottles of beer since its launch in September and is on track to hit £1 million in sales over the next 12 months.

Days was set up by Mike Gammell, formerly part of the Specialities & Craft Beer leadership team at AbInBev and whose father is energy heavyweight Bill, and Duncan Keith, who spent a decade in marketing at challenger brand Propercorn.

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The firm says that Days is “exclusively alcohol-free, posing a challenge to big-brand AF beers on the authenticity of their messaging”.

So far it is stocked in a number of Michelin venues across Scotland including The Kitchin in Edinburgh.

“Our consumers love great beer and all it brings but are tired of the side effects of alcohol from impacting on their lives,” the company said. “We brew for a great community of people who are prioritising their physical and mental health but still want to enjoy those fantastic moments and occasions that really only a beer can bring.

“We like to think of beer as the world’s oldest social network and whilst many of our consumers still drink alcohol they are realising that there are many more moments in the week when an alcohol free beer is going to make you feel a lot better than an alcoholic one.

"We certainly had a clear demographic target when we set up the business but we have learnt pretty quickly that that mindset, to want to be your best version of yourself, is a common theme, which gives us a ton of confidence as we look to the future.”

HeraldScotland: Duncan Keith, left, and Mike Gammell.Duncan Keith, left, and Mike Gammell.

The firm says its product differs from many beers listed as alcohol-free because Days comes in at 0.0% alcohol by volume, while others can still fall within de-alcoholised and alcohol-free categories and have anything between 0.05% and 0.5% abv.

“Unlike the majority of alcohol-free beers we do not de-alcoholise and our beers are 0.0% abv. The vast majority of other beers on the market are either de-alcoholised versions of alcoholic beers or 0.5% abv.

“The feedback we’ve been getting since we launched has been amazing and the fact that we’re now stocked in a range of premium bars and Michelin star restaurants across Scotland is testament to our approach.”

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The founders started working on the business in February 2020 and the pandemic initially allowed more space to focus on recipe development and the brewing process "because there was less of a rush to get the product into the market", and it was launched with “an enormous direct-to-consumer focus”.

“Until April the majority of our sales were through our website. That’s a really unique way for a beer business to launch and it has enabled us to develop a really close relationship with our consumers because we speak to them every day.

“We have an amazingly engaged community and use innovative technology to process orders via text SMS message. The SMS channel also allows us to get thoughts, feedback and ideas directly from our consumers. We recently launched the world’s first dedicated 0.0% beer subscription service on the back of frequent feedback we received via text.”

Both the vegan friendly beers are made with locally sourced water from the Lammemuir hills and premium Scottish malt barley. “We use hallertau hops in the Lager which gives it a very clean, crisp and sessionable flavour profile whilst the Pale Ale uses CTZ, Magnum and Herkules hops giving it bold tropical notes and a clean grapefruit finish.

“That fact that we use a 0.0% brewing process and do not need to use heat treatment or chemicals to strip any alcohol out means that we protect the integrity of our natural ingredients. It’s the secret to our signature clean and refreshing style.”

The firm also has a scheme called “Days Duty” which commits 2% of all sales to mental health initiatives and the founders are “excited about the impact of that already”.