Meet the Nommeliers: the first alcohol-free sommeliers

Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on email

Traditionally found in fine dining establishments, sommeliers are experts at pairing specific wines with dishes, elevating the dining experience and maximising the taste experience for their guests. But for those who want to enjoy the same experience but without alcohol, options are limited. Until now…

With the number of No and Low serves increasing fourfold over the last five years and with the category witnessing a surge in growth as new NoLo options and flavours enter the market, HEINEKEN has introduced the world’s first Nommelier service, curating the first alcohol-free pairing menu.

Rather than a tedious glass of tap water or a soda, diners can now discover plenty of alcohol-free alternatives, with some specialist help. Beer and wine experts, Ben MacFarland and Tom Sandham, otherwise known as The Thinking Drinkers, are switching codes to become the first Nommeliers for the first dining experience of its kind in London and Edinburgh.

Ben and Tom have developed a surprise three-course menu for diners that will see some of the duo’s favourite NoLo options paired with culinary delights specially prepared for our mindful drinking foodies.

The Nommelier ‘NoLo Flight Menu’ is being hosted at Hemingway’s in Edinburgh on January 16th and The Ship Tavern in Holborn, London on January 19th. There are a limited number of complimentary tickets available to consumers, with every diner treated to a gin and tonic aperitif and a three-course dining menu with wine, beer and cider pairings personally selected and presented by Nommeliers Ben and Tom.

The move follows research revealing that the number of No & Low drinkers has more than trebled since 2018 (715,000 new people have started drinking ‘NoLo’ during the period) and it’s estimated that as many as 13 million Brits are currently moderating their alcohol intake. What’s more, it’s the younger generation who are leading the charge – the data shows that 50 per cent of 18 – 24-year-olds are trying to moderate their alcohol intake, an increase of 9% versus five years ago.

Mr MacFarland said: “One of the joys of eating out is having a great drink with a well-cooked meal. So, for those embarking on a new year’s resolution to change their alcohol consumption, a glass of water or cola simply isn’t going to cut it with seafood, steak or a spicy dish. Yet, these days, with the wealth of NoLo options available, there’s no reason to compromise or give in to temptation – or indeed feel that you’re missing out. 

“We have put together some of our personal favourite NoLo pairings to help prove that alcohol isn’t always an essential ingredient to a great gastronomic experience.”

Mr Sandham said: “Until a few years ago the NoLo options available were really limited and frankly not up to scratch, so it’s great we’re starting to see better and tastier alternatives. January is a tough month for everyone, we all need a boost, and the NoLo Flight is a great way for people to discover alcohol-free options and still socialise in a pub. From January and beyond, they can enjoy a drink and stay on track with any efforts to bring a bit of balance to their lives.”