It’s been a big year for NON. The brand launched a cellar door experience outside Melbourne, was named in countless articles around the world — including a New York Times write-up of the best non-alcoholic drinks of 2023 — and, this month, released its first-ever limited edition drop, NON 8, a blend of torched apple and oolong.
If you’re not familiar with NON, it’s a non-alcoholic drink different to a non-alcoholic wine, because it doesn’t simply have the alcohol removed — it’s its own drink entirely. Each of its 7 drinks, named by numbers, pairs unexpected flavours — like salted raspberry and chamomile, caramelised pear and kombu and toasted cinnamon and yuzu.
“NON 8 was 18 months in the making, because we had to take a step back from the flavour innovation and any new releases to focus on opening our cellar door,” says Aaron Trotman, founder of NON.
“I’d describe it as big, bold and robust — one of the boldest in our range. It builds beautifully in every sip, thanks to the ginger root and cacao-steeped verjuice [highly acidic juice made by pressing unripe grapes or other sour fruit]. We go the extra mile to make the apple super nuanced and flavourful, and I think that really shows when you taste this drink.”
NON 8 will be the first limited-edition release in a capsule collection that launched September 21, 2023. Trotman says the limited-edition series will challenge consumers to think differently about the way they drink. No other details of the capsule collection have been released.
“We pride ourselves at NON by taking no shortcuts,” says Trotman. “What you see is what you get — these drinks are carefully crafted with real produce made by experts. The aim was to never mock the taste of alcohol, but to create an entirely different category and way of drinking.”
NON 8 was made by cold steeping freeze-dried apple cubes to remove 85% of their water content and to concentrate the fruit flavour, which makes the drink zingy and fresh. The reason it’s in limited release only is that the team worked closely with local farmers to source the apples.
“There is a chance it could return in a different way — it’s a vintage,” says Trotman. “For the meantime, we’re going to let the good times roll and not put this into a box [of limited release], which is the type of non-conformity we think our collection of drinks is all about.”
NON’s headquarters tours are offered in Melbourne suburb Cheltenham, a 30-minute drive outside the city. Offered the first Friday of every month from 9.00am to 4.00pm, the one-hour tours will have just 10 spots per session. Tours will finish with a food pairing with all NON’s seven flavours.
“Guests will not only have the unique opportunity to witness the inner workings of the brand and to experience the art of non-alcoholic beverage making first-hand, but they will also see how we prioritise sustainability in everything we do,” says Nick Cozens, NON’s kitchen lead.