Alcohol-free beverages have been seeing growth for a number of years now. Leading breweries may not have been quick to adopt them but nowadays almost every leading brand will have an alcohol-free or low-alcoholic option. But even taking this into account few could have predicted how popular alcohol-free beverages would become.
Many leading brewers have announced that their alcohol-free options have seen a recent rise in sales. Danish brewer Carlsberg reported 29% growth in the July to September window when compared to the same period last year.
Showing that despite the challenges numerous breweries have had due to COVID-19 alcohol-free beverages actually grew more popular. A quote from Carlsberg highlighted their belief that this increase in sales was due to “an increasing health focus among consumers".
A spokesperson for Carlsberg said: "Our international premium brands, craft & speciality, and alcohol-free brews delivered solid growth for both Q3 and year-to-date despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.".
While sales grew in many countries the most popular areas across Europe were France, Russia, Poland, and Ukraine. Yes, these alcohol-free options aren’t as popular as their alcoholic counterparts, but they continue to show impressive growth year on year.
An Expanding Market
While the continuing (and rising) popularity of alcohol-free beverages is likely due to a number of different factors the addition of more options from big-name brands also helped bring in more consumers. Carlsberg wasn’t the only brewer to introduce new alcohol-free options after all.
Just last week an alcohol-free version of Guinness was released in both the UK and Ireland as well. The Belgian brewer AB InBev has also introduced a low-alcohol option to their classic favourite Stella Artois.
Heineken like Carlsberg also recently introduced an alcohol-free version of its leading flagship beer in Heineken 0.0. Just like Carlsberg Heineken also reported impressive growth with this beer announcing that it had impressive double-digit growth in the July to September quarter.
Although rather interestingly it named countries like Brazil, Mexico, and the USA to be particularly markable due to its strong performance there. Back in the UK though Guinness’s alcohol-free option Guinness 0.0 recently went on sale in supermarkets and more alcohol-free options are due to launch next year.
So, what can we really conclude about the increasing popularity of alcohol-free and low-alcohol beverages? Well, I think we can say that this isn’t a “flash in the pan” trend these alcohol-free options are here to stay, and their market share is only growing more impressive every year.
Yes, in comparison they are still dwarfed by their alcoholic counterparts, but their sales continue to only grow more impressive. To see leading breweries start developing their own alcohol-free/ low-alcohol beverages would have been unthinkable just a couple of decades ago.
While 2020 has been a very difficult year for breweries and regular drinking establishments the continued growth of alcohol-free and low-alcohol options only becomes more impressive. With more options than ever before it will be interesting to see how this trend continues next year.