Low & no-alcohol beer: A sensible year for sales

Low and no-alcohol variants continue to add fans in the trade

Low and no-alcohol beers are becoming more prevalent in bars for a variety of reasons

ALTHOUGH they represent a small fraction of total beer sales in the on-trade, low and no-alcohol alternatives are becoming increasingly popular in bars and represent an opportunity for growth for licensees.

Sales in the category rose slowly, surely and soberly by almost 4% in the past year from £2.56 million to £2.65m.

Further evidence of its importance to the trade was presented in recent research, which showed that 50% of people were now moderating their alcohol intake and 15% said they would visit pubs more often if licensed premises stocked better alcohol-free choices.

A pioneer in the category, Beck’s Blue continues to be the dominant force amongst low and no-alcohol beers.

The classic German-style pilsner accounts for over half the category with value sales of £1.52m.

Coming second is another German, Erdinger Alcoholfrei, a Bavarian wheat beer marketed as a “sporty thirst quencher”.

The beer, which is said to contain isotonic properties, plays on its health qualities with only 125 calories per 500ml bottle and is made exclusively from natural ingredients.

The brand sponsors a host of sporting events across mainland Europe but clearly has its own backers in Scotland’s pubs.

The biggest mover in the category is Heineken 0.0, which has jumped an impressive 11 places to third amongst low and no-alcohol beers.

Just last month the brand, first launched in March 2017, benefitted from Heineken’s biggest ever marketing campaign for a non-alcoholic beer, that included a television advert during England’s World Cup semi-final with Croatia, which was watched by over 25 million people in the UK.

Brewdog’s Nanny State, a hoppy ale with an ABV of 0.5%, continues its stay amongst the top five brands at number four this year.

At number five is Tennent’s Hee Haw; the 0.05% ABV beer was released in 2014, in time for changes to Scotland’s drink-drive legislation.

Other leading brands in the category include Innis & Gunn Innis & None, Cobra Zero 0.0, Carlsberg 0.0 and Estrella Galicia.

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Low & no-alcohol beer


Beck’s Blue

Erdinger Alcoholfrei

Heineken 0.0

Brewdog Nanny State

Tennent’s Hee Haw