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Drynks Unlimited, which makes 0.05% ABV beers and ciders, has completed a £1 million investment in a cool vacuum distillation (CVD) kit. The group says will help to improve the quality of its alcohol-free brews and make them taste “as good as full-strength beers and ciders.”

There are currently only 20 CVD kits in operation around the world. Drynks Unlimited said this is the first distillation kit of its kind to operate in the UK.

The Manchester-based company is partnering with Robinson’s brewery in Stockport to build and connect the kit to its existing brewery.

David Bremner, marketing director at Robinson’s Brewery said Drynks Unlimited’s “stealth focus” on producing alcohol-free drinks “perfectly complements our brewing history and expertise.”

“Our no and low sales are up 51% this year and this trend is set to continue through innovation in flavour and dispense.”

The CVD process removes alcohol from drinks “without affecting the flavour and aromas in the original, fully alcoholic beer and cider”, according to a statement from Drynks Unlimited. It has the capacity to produce 75,000 bottles of 0% drinks per day. A number of brewers already use this technology for their own non-alcoholic beers, such as Heineken, but the process is carried out in breweries with CVD kits outside of the UK, before being shipped in.

In the summer of 2018, sales of alcohol-free beer rose 58% compared to the same period last year, according to Kantar data, while sales of beer with an ABV below 2.8% have risen 381% since 2017.

A spokesperson for the company told db it had made this “expensive” investment because “the market is going towards no alcohol, not low alcohol.”

Richard Clark, Drynks Unlimited’s founder, said the last 0.5% ABV of alcohol is “the hardest part to remove,” which is part of the reason that many de-alcoholised, low ABV drinks have an ABV of 0.5% or slightly higher.

“This market-leading technology means we are the first British-based drinks company to produce alcohol-free drinks that deliver exceptional taste and an authentic experience.”

“Some smaller brands are great tasting whilst sadly some of the recent launches do not help create the right consumer perceptions of the sector.

“We definitely don’t ‘part-ferment’ and we never boil the original great tasting alcohol drink. We strive to have multi-dimensional drinks that deliver on taste and experience.”

Drynks Unlimited was founded in 2017, and prdcues alcohol-free brand Smashed. There are currently three products in its range: “Smashed Cider”, “Smashed Hops”, and “Smashed Citrus”, while it is also launching “Smashed Berry” in 2020.

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