Is 2018 the year of the non-alcoholic beer?
An extra 600,000 people became teetotal in 2017, and as a nation we consumed 13.1 million litres less of beer and lager than in 2016 (Kantar). Non-alcoholic beer may still be small in comparison to the total beer market – less than 1% (Nielsen), but it grew 40% from 2015 to 2016. The big alcohol brands are muscling in with Heineken 0.0, San Miguel 0.0% and Budweiser’s Prohibition all launching in the last couple of years and all making the most of Dry January to promote their product. The supermarkets are getting behind the push as well, with Tesco discounting all no and low-alcohol brands by 20%.
The challenge for these brands is to make alcohol-free beer a positive, active choice, rather than a negatively-viewed alternative. There are definite advantages that they could play on, as Ilaria Lodigiani, head of global marketing innovation, Heineken brand highlights, the alcohol-free beer is “very low in calories, low in sugar” and with the trend towards natural products with less sugar, this puts it in a very interesting position . New brands like Fit Beer are dialling up the nutritional advantages, with their vegan, vitamin rich beer that comes in at only 66 calories.
It’s not only non-alcoholic beer that is getting a boost, we drunk an extra £1 million of low and non-alcoholic wine last year, and Seedlip has been going from strength to strength, planning on expanding its range. With big brands getting behind non-alcoholic, and plenty of innovative challenger brands it seems 2018 could be the year of the non-alcoholic beer (and wine and spirits too).
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