Boom in booze-free set to continue

Boom in booze-free set to continue

The growth of consumers drinking non-alcoholic versions of products shows no sign of slowing down.

Drinks suppliers have been launching new ranges of non-alcoholic beers, spirits and wines as consumers moderate their alcohol and look for healthier options.  And with the low and no alcohol market  now worth £50M in the UK (CGA MAT 27 January 2018) and Office for National Statistics figures showing that one in five UK adults are now teetotal, that trend is expected to continue.

A survey conducted earlier this year by The Portman Group, the drinks watchdog, highlighted the explosion in popularity of low and no alcohol alternatives as a way to drink responsibly, with younger people leading the trend.

Its survey of 2,000 people, conducted by YouGov, found that nearly a quarter (24%) of British drinkers have either already switched some of their drinking to low alcohol alternatives or would consider doing so in the next six months.

Anna Bateson, head of UK marketing at Innocent Drinks, told Beverage Business World that the alcohol industry has been at the forefront of responding to the declining number of people drinking alcohol. 

“They are really focusing on either their zero percent beer and advertising that, which we have never seen before.  They are scrabbling but they want those lost sales to stay within their walls,” Bateson said. 

“I actually think they are being quicker as suppliers to fill that space.”


The beer industry has been at the forefront of this trend launching a range of new zero alcohol options.

According to Eebria Trade Craft Beer Trends report there had been an increase of 381% in the sales of low and no-alcohol beer sales since 2017.

Heineken, the Dutch brewer, recently revealed to Beverage Business World that it was targeting the coffee shop and wider hospitality sector to roll out its Blade draught system, which offers zero alcohol beer Heineken 0.0. 

"Across the cider and beer categories, low and no alcohol is gaining significant momentum. 50% of drinkers now limit their alcohol consumption, with millennials in particular leading the charge," said Jerry Shedden, category and trade marketing director at Heineken UK told Beverage Business World.

"Consumers are looking for alcohol-free options that don’t compromise on taste and provide the same great quality and satisfaction as alcoholic drinks. Having recognised the growing trend for moderation, Heineken launched Heineken 0.0 in March 2017. Since then, it’s become the fastest growing brand in the alcohol-free segment – responsible for 70% of low and no volume sales growth. "

Meanwhile,  Carlsberg UK, the brewer behind a growing collection of low and no alcohol beers including Carlsberg 0.0% and San Miguel 0.0%, has committed to offering an alcohol-free alternative, wherever its alcoholic options are sold, by 2030.

Its own study carried out by OnePoll, which delved into the drinking habits of 2,000 UK adults, found 59% of respondents had tried a low or no alcohol drink and more than half of those asked (52%) agreed that drinking a low or no alcohol beer had become more socially acceptable in the last year or two.


Meanwhile, the growth of non-alcoholic spirits has seen a boom in innovative cocktails in the out of home sector.

Seedlip founder Ben Branson told Beverage Business World that people are becoming increasingly mindful of their health, what they put in their bodies, and where their food and drink comes from.

“These societal shifts ultimately impact whether we want to drink alcohol or not and are resulting in us drinking less but better, favouring more meaningful experiences over functional “let’s go out drinking” evenings. This is forcing a recalibration of our relationship with alcohol,” he said.

He added that three years ago in 99% of the 20,000 bars and restaurants in the UK, “non-alcoholic cocktails didn’t exist.”

However, he added that there are now over 5,000 bars and restaurants in the UK now that have at least two non-alcoholic options.

Meanwhile, the wine sector is also tapping into the low alcohol and alcohol-free trend. While much of this has been focused on the in-home market more low and no alcohol ranges are expanding into the sector.

A spokesman for Treasury Wine Estates said: “We are about to launch the Lindeman’s Alcohol Free range (0.5% ABV) into both Asda and Morrison’s (we also have the Rawson’s Retreat Low Alcohol range in Tesco). We are very confident that these products will be very successful in retail, as they tap into what are very real and compelling trends in the market.”

A new alcohol-free Chardonnay was launched by wine brand Hardys to appeal to the increasing demand for low or no alcohol alternatives. The brand, owned by Accolade Wines, which has seen a 2.9% increase in sales (Nielsen 52 w/e 26.01.19), said it is broadening its offer in response to increasing demand for low or no alcohol alternatives that offer an “authentic, sophisticated wine experience”.



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