A trend that the trade can’t ignore

Consumers choosing to moderate their drinking expect a good offer

people drinking

WITH moderation and healthier-living now a well established trend, sales of low and no-alcohol products are on the up.

And Scottish premises may well be leading the way in the shift towards these drinks in the on-trade.

Stephan Kofler, sales and marketing director at Krombacher UK, said Scotland “has been ahead of the low/no drinks curve in the last five years”.

“But I would guess 2019 has easily been the low and no category’s best year so far,” said Kofler.

“There is undoubtedly more interest and demand from a whole range of consumers who are starting to have real confidence in the category, perhaps for the first time. The choice now open to them is as good as it has ever been so the category is incredibly exciting at present.”

Peter Sandstrom, chief executive at Harviestoun Brewery in Alva, agreed.

He said the business, which recently added both low and no-alcohol beers to its range, has seen increased demand in the trade for these products “either due to driving, religion or health-related reasons”.

“Consumers need more variety but most importantly they want the taste of beer,” said Sandstrom.

This doesn’t seem to be a flash in the pan.

Quoting figures from CGA, Kopparberg brand manager, Rosie Fryer, said alcohol sales in Scotland are at a 25-year low, with consumption down 3% year-on-year.

She said: “We also know that two thirds of 16 to 24 year olds claim alcohol is not an important part of their social life, 66% of people have visited a pub and not had alcohol and 39% of adults now opt for non-alcoholic drinks to aid personal health, demonstrating the increasing reach of mindful drinking – a movement operators cannot ignore, especially as despite moderation in consumption, drinking visits remain frequent.”

That last part is crucial for the trade; although people – and young people in particular – might be drinking less, they are still visiting premises.

So the pressure is on to be able to provide them with a solid range of low and no-alcohol drinks.

Rosie Crossman, brand manager for Franklin & Sons at parent company Global Brands, said people are moderating their alcohol consumption “for a mix of health and lifestyle reasons”.

“However, they will still go on nights out and visit bars over the festive period, meaning bar owners need to be able to meet the growing demand for stylish and sophisticated non-alcoholic serves,” said Crossman.

As with other types of drinks, consumer expectation in low and no-alcohol is said to be growing, with bar and pub customers looking for high quality serves – whether they contain alcohol or not.

“Consumers are becoming more aware and more educated on the variety of non-alcoholic brands available,” said Alex Carlton, chief executive of Elegantly Spirited, producer of zero-ABV spirit, Stryyk.

“Most importantly they are becoming more discerning and looking for credible alternatives to alcohol.”