Mid-Strength Spirits are the Next Zero Proof

Mid-strength spirits are having their moment thanks to moderation-minded consumers. While the rise of zero-proof alcohol is still prevalent, drinks with less alcohol content are also gaining the interest of younger drinkers looking for a low-key night. 

IWSR found that more than 50% of U.S. drinkers are moderating their alcohol consumption but don’t always choose mid-strength or non-alcohol options due to quality and taste. Sommarøy Spirits is helping to solve this issue by creating spirits that are zero carbs, lower calories, only contain two-thirds of alcohol and taste just as good as traditional spirits.

Mid-Strength Helps Keep the Fun Going

Michael Barkin, Co-founder of Sommarøy Spirits.

“Consumers have become more health-conscious, particularly when it comes to drinking,” Michael Barkin, Co-founder of Sommarøy Spirits, says. “Like most Americans during the pandemic, we found ourselves enjoying our favorite cocktails a little more than usual, but after a while, we realized we wanted a lower-proof version of our favorite spirits to keep the good times going with fewer negative side effects. That led us to a gap in the market to create a premium mid-strength spirit with the same full flavor of traditional spirits, but lower ABV.”

Sommarøy Spirits offer a Gin and Vodka that have both been awarded various industry accolades, including a 97 and 95 rating respectively from the Tasting Panel and a Gold Medal (93 points) and Silver Medal (88 points) from The Beverage Tasting Institute. Both spirits are 55 proof and contain bold notes that make either great to sip or mix into a favorite cocktail.

Gratifying Gin

Sommarøy Gin is hand-crafted using legacy distilling techniques. Twice-distilled with botanicals in a 100-year-old copper pot still, this Gin delivers a clean taste that is pleasant to sip and delightful to shake or stir into a cocktail. 

Its top notes are bold additions to the party. Botanical juniper, plucky lemon peel and spicy coriander set the stage. Then, the warmth of Sommarøy sets in with the mellow bottom notes of sweet cassia and earthy Angelica root. The result is a rich, botanical nose, a balanced mouth-feel and an elegant finish.

Sommarøy Gin is exquisite and easily takes center stage in a perfectly dry Gin Martini. Yet, it’s versatile enough to do right by the classics, such as a Gin Fizz or a refreshing Gin and Tonic.

Tasteful Vodka

Sommarøy Vodka is made from 100% domestic corn, making it naturally gluten-free with a mild sweetness and a buttery mouth-feel that tastes great on its own or mixed into a cocktail. Using legacy small-batch distilling techniques, this Vodka is twice-distilled to ensure a 55 proof that keeps the good going. 

This Vodka pairs beautifully with the simplicity of soda. Yet, it’s also a great addition to a high-ball mixed with lemonade and garnished with basil or in a summery Gimlet or Sea Breeze, served on the rocks or straight up.

Photo credit: Sommarøy Spirits.

Setting Out to Create a Mellow Buzz

“We created Sommarøy Spirits to bring a new category to life that was lacking in the adult beverage market, tapping into emerging beverage consumption trends early on,” Barkin explains. “While non-alc has taken off the last few years, no one had come to the table with a mid-strength spirit that was up to par and allowed the growing number of moderation-minded consumers to enjoy their favorite spirits and cocktails with the perfect mellow buzz.” 

Barkin and his Co-founder, Jimmy Cosma set out to fill the mid-strength white space with Gin and Vodka that gives consumers a real choice. Something that tastes as good or better than traditional spirits — straight or mixed in a cocktail. Their creation also allows retailers to reach an untapped and profitable consumer set. 

Similar to any startup, the road to getting Sommarøy Spirits off the ground was filled with twists and turns that were unexpected, but helped shape the brand into what it is today. They have worked with innovative industry leaders along the way who are better able to see around corners and helped Sommarøy plan for the unexpected. 

“The nonnegotiable goal for us since day one was to create a great tasting, sippable spirit. If we weren’t able to do that, it wasn’t ever going to get off the ground,” Barkin says.

Photo credit: Sommarøy Spirits.

Full Proof Taste With Mid-Strength Feel

Sommarøy’s production process is exactly the same as traditional spirits, but with a further elaborative dilution process that utilizes reverse osmosis water to get the spirits down to the desired 55 proof. 

From there, they also have a proprietary process to identify what’s been lost in terms of flavor, viscosity, mouth feel, burn and nose, and they re-introduce those naturally to the spirit. This way, the end product is experienced just like traditional spirits, but with less impact. 

Currently, Sommarøy Spirits are available in 250 retail locations and online across most U.S. states. Their retail distribution is growing rapidly as consumers demand quality, full-flavor mid-strength spirit options. 

“We’ll be in San Diego this upcoming February as a sponsor of the 2024 VIBE Conference where we’ll be slinging drinks and talking about the latest trends in mid-strength spirits. We’re excited to continue the momentum into 2024 and beyond,” Barkin says.


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