Have you ever heard of the term “smart drinking” or “smadori”? It refers to a way of drinking in which each individual, whether a drinker, non-drinker, or dare not drink, can smartly choose an appropriate alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink according to his or her constitution, mood, and the occasion. Asahi Breweries, Ltd., a major beer manufacturer, is proposing a diversity of drinking styles. “Asahi Breweries, Ltd.” and Dentsu Digital Inc. will newly establish “Smadori Corporation” in January 2022. It is estimated that about 40 million of the approximately 80 million people in their 20s to 60s in Japan are “non-drinkers/non-drinkers,” and the company has begun data marketing and other activities focused on such people.

The latest study for 2022 shows that while global alcohol sales are slowing, the market for non-alcoholic beverages continues to expand, growing at a CAGR of 6.9% during the forecast period from 2022 to 2030, and is projected to reach US$2,132.6 billion by 2030. The market size of non-alcoholic beverages is expected to continue to expand.

As it becomes increasingly common for both alcohol drinkers and non-alcohol drinkers to respect and enjoy each other’s choices, restaurants will need to respond to this “diversity”. To this end, restaurants should not only increase their non-alcoholic drink menus, but also prepare “sustainable” menus that take the environment and health into consideration.

In this column, we focus on “drinks,” which can be said to be the key to customer value in restaurants, and introduce 10 sustainable drinks. All of these products are available in Japan as of October 2022.
(This column is the non-alcohol version. Click here for the alcohol version)

Table of Contents


1. “Soda water” using recyclable transparent PET bottles

“Perrier”, France’s leading brand of carbonated natural mineral water, will launch “Perrier PET 500ml” in April 2022. For this launch, the company is using transparent PET plastic bottles that can be recycled in Japan in consideration of the environment, instead of the green bottles that have been distributed in France and other countries for many years.


2. “Soda water” made from distilled water that was to be disposed of

In 2020, “fabriq Inc.” of Shibuya-ku, Tokyo and “EarthRing”, an aroma distillery in Hakusan City, Ishikawa Prefecture, launched the “QINO Project”, a regional co-creation project with the mission of “using trees to grow mountains”. “QINO SODA”, a carbonated beverage made from distilled water of Hakusan City’s Lindera umbellata (Camphoraceae deciduous shrub), is now on sale.

Lindera umbellata have been used as a raw material for aromatic essential oils. QINO SODA utilizes chromophyll distilled water, which has a deep aroma and is infused with essential oil components, to utilize a natural resource that would otherwise have been discarded. QINO SODA utilizes the distilled water of Lindera umbellata, which is deeply aromatic and imbued with essential oils.

A portion of the profits from the products is returned to forest conservation. The company also creates employment opportunities for people with disabilities by outsourcing the packing and shipping of products to employment support facilities.

[Related Article] “QINO SODA” is carbonated water with a woody aroma, made from distilled water that is scheduled to be disposed of.


3. “Tonic Water” for local consumption and support of medical institutions

“Kizashi Tonic Water Kihada” is a tonic water made from kihada, a tree in the tangerine family that has been used as a herbal medicine in Japan since the Jomon period. It is developed and marketed by Hiyori Corporation, a premium craft liquor brand in Yamanashi Prefecture. In addition to the raw material, kihada extract, it is blended with fragrant hand-pressed yuzu juice, kabosu extract, and shikwasa extract produced in Fujikawa-cho, Yamanashi Prefecture. It is characterized by a refreshing bitter taste, and is recommended for use as a mixer (split material) as well as for drinking on its own.

Hiyori Corporation is also making social contributions by donating a total of 3,000 bottles of this product to 10 hospitals in Yamanashi Prefecture that accept patients with the new type of COVID-19.


4. “Non-alcoholic beer” with vegan certification

Mitsubishi Shokuhin Co., Ltd. is selling RIZAP-supervised premium non-alcoholic beer-tasting beverage, jointly developed with RIZAP GROUP, Inc., from September 2022. The beverage is made from 100% barley malt, has no added flavors or sweeteners, contains 0.00% alcohol, is low in calories at 12 kilocalories per 100 ml, and has a robust barley aroma and bitterness similar to that of German beer.

The product is vegan certified by “Vegi Project Japan”, a certification organization, and contains no animal-derived ingredients such as meat, seafood, eggs, dairy products, or honey. No animal testing was conducted during product development.


5. “Non-alcoholic sparkling wine” with organic, vegan and Halal certifications

“Thomson & Scott Noughty”, a non-alcoholic sparkling wine made from grapes from vineyards in Southern Spain. Amanda, the female CEO and founder, was named one of the “100 Greatest Business Leaders in the Food and Beverage Industry” in 2019.

It is available in two varieties, Sparkling Chardonnay and Sparkling Rosé, both with 0.0% alcohol. They are certified organic, vegan, and Halal.

In general, non-alcoholic wine is produced by two major methods: one is to add wine flavor without alcoholic fermentation of grape juice, and the other is to remove alcohol from wine that has undergone alcoholic fermentation (de-alcoholization). The product is said to have a richer, more authentic wine flavor by using the de-alcoholization method.


6. “Non-alcoholic rosé” with vegan and Halal certification

Major Japanese sake manufacturer HAKUTSURU SAKE BREWING CO.,LTD. has been marketing a sparkling wine-tasting beverage called “les cocottes rose” since August 2021. This authentic, dry sparkling wine-tasting beverage is made by removing alcohol from wine brewed from grapes grown in the south of France using a de-alcoholizing process, which preserves the original aroma and flavor of the wine.

This product is certified by “Halal Consulting”, a Halal certification organization. The “clarifying” agent used in the production of alcoholic beverages to remove turbidity is made from egg whites, gelatin, milk, etc., but this product does not use animal-based clarifying agents.


7. “Soda/Syrups” that make effective use of unused wood from Japanese forests

The “Japanese Botanical Lab”, which seeks to discover the “potential of vegetation lying in satoyama throughout Japan “as food ingredients,” has developed and is marketing “Forest Soda” and “Forest Syrup”, which make effective use of unused wood in Japan. The products are made by distilling five kinds of aromatic woods from Karuizawa, including fir, red pine, larch, lindera praecox, and Japanese cypress.

Japan’s forests cover about 25 million hectares, or two-thirds of the country’s land area, of which about 10 million hectares are planted forests. More than half of the planted forests have reached the point of harvesting, but cutting trees that cannot be used for commercial purposes will only result in a loss. Trees left unattended without being cut down do not have firm roots, increasing the risk of landslides, and blocking sunlight also causes the forest ecosystem to collapse. In addition, the ability of trees to absorb carbon dioxide will be reduced, which will contribute to accelerating the pace of climate change. To solve these problems, Japanese Botanical Lab is working to revitalize Japan’s forestry industry by developing avenues for thinning and fair purchase of timber.

[Related Article] A desire for Satoyama has given rise to the idea of “eating trees”. The Relationship between Trees and People as Considered by “Tree (Eat) People”


8. “Craft cola” using fair trade cacao

With the rise in health consciousness, “craft colas,” which are free of sugar and artificial sweeteners, are becoming increasingly popular. BIOSTYLE Co., Ltd. in Kyoto, which develops sustainable products and operates facilities, sells “Cacao Nama Cola”, a craft cola that uses high-quality fine cacao from Costa Rica. The cacao used in Cacao Nama Cola is Costa Rican cacao that is produced without pesticides. The chocolatier meets directly with the producers in the source area to carefully select the cacao, supervises its cultivation, drying, and fermentation, and trades on a fair trade basis to maintain an equal relationship.

It is also made without cola nuts, the main ingredient essential for craft colas, and is made with cacao to supplement the natural caffeine, and contains no food additives, including flavoring. It is a craft cola from Kyoto with the aroma of cacao.


9. “Sparkling drinks” using fruits and vegetables from food loss

Various fruit peels are inevitably generated during temporary processing at cut fruit factories. “Amanatsu Honey” is a non-alcoholic sparkling drink made by extracting natural flavors from the peels of amanatsu, a fragrant sweet summer fruit produced in Kagoshima Prefecture, and upcycling them into a non-alcoholic sparkling drink.

The peel of the sweet summer orange, the raw material, is peeled at the company’s own processing plant of “Imogin Corporation,” a wholesaler, processor, and distributor of fruits and vegetables, and is used as food loss. The product is manufactured by the long-established beverage manufacturer “Cheerio Chubu Corporation”.

“CRUST JAPAN Corporation”, which sells Amanatsu Honey, is the Japanese subsidiary of “CRUST”, a food tech company from Singapore that upcycles food loss. The company is developing upcycled products in cooperation with various companies with the group-wide goal of “reducing food loss by 1% worldwide by 2030”.


10. “Protein smoothie” with silkworms

With the possibility that if the world’s population continues to grow at the current pace, people may eventually run out of the nutrients they need, “entomophagy” is attracting attention as a way to prepare for a food crisis. Silkworms, in particular, are rich in protein and 62 other nutrients necessary for humans. Silkworms are also characterized by their high production efficiency, as they grow quickly and can be reared in a small space.

“Ellie Inc”, which conducts research and product development on these silkworms, is selling “Kaiko Protein Smoothies” from “SILKFOOD”, a food brand specializing in silkworms. The products come in two types: “Green,” which provides one serving of vegetables and silkworm-derived protein as well, and “Fruit,” which provides one day’s worth of fruit and silkworm-derived protein as well.

[Related Article] Protein Smoothies Released by “SILKFOOD”, a Food Brand Using Nutrient-Rich Silkworms


Editor’s Note

How was it? In this column, we introduced 10 non-alcoholic drinks that can be purchased in Japan as of October 2022.
At the same time that the realization of a society that recognizes “diversity” in terms of gender, race, nationality, preferences, and disabilities is becoming more important, more and more people expect restaurants to respond to ” food diversity“. As these customers become more aware of sustainability, “working to procure sustainable drinks” may lead to increased customer satisfaction.

[Related Article]


[Reference Site] Perrier, France’s natural mineral water, launches environmentally friendly, recyclable transparent PET bottles.
[Reference Site] Asahi Breweries, Ltd. and Dentsu Digital Inc. establish joint venture “Smadori Corporation” – Accelerating “Smart Drinking” to promote diversity in the way we drink by using digital technology.
[Reference Site] The non-alcoholic beverage market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.9% through 2030.
[Reference Site] New experience of “drinking from wood”, launch of “Tree (Eat) People”, a brand that aims to make wood edible.
[Reference Site] More refreshing and tastier. “Kizashi Tonic Water Kihada,” born from Japanese botanicals, is now available for renewal.
[Reference Site] Premium non-alcoholic beer-tasting beverage” supervised by RIZAP, well-known for “Commit to Results®”.
[Reference Site] [First sale in Japan] Started selling the highest quality non-alcoholic wine for the first time in Japan at a physical store in an experiential store!
[Reference site] [First in Japan] World-class non-alcoholic wine delivered to your home! Non-alcoholic wine specialty store “Holoyowaz” starts full-scale sales of new products!
[Reference Site] Hakutsuru will launch the sparkling wine-tasting beverage “Les Cocottes Rosé” nationwide on August 27, 2021 – Authentic taste made from Chardonnay and Merlot wines.
[Reference Site] Opened a store in “Craft Cola Village” where the hottest craft colas from all over Japan gather. “Cacao Nama Cola”, a homemade cola from Kyoto made with 9 spices and cacao.
[Reference Site] [CRUST JAPAN Corporation] CROP, a line of non-alcoholic beverages using fruits and vegetables from food loss, will launch its first product in Japan!

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