More people than ever are seeking no and low-alcohol beverages, both at home and in the pub, with on-trade sales of such drinks almost doubling (48% increase) in the last 12 months.
In fact, 20% of Brits now have a non-alcoholic beer as their drink of choice, with even more of us (34%) favouring a mocktail when socialising. And it’s not just us Brits making the change either. 16% of consumers around the world are actively trying to reduce their alcohol consumption, while 39% report that they only consume alcohol in moderation.
As little as 10 years ago, this would be unheard of – so what’s driving this trend?
While some may write off the term ‘sober-curious’ as being one of the latest buzzwords, it is, in reality, a strong movement that is one of the driving forces in the growth of the no and low-alcohol global drinks market.
The interest in a sober lifestyle falls under the umbrella of consumers trending towards an increased desire for wellness, partially in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a heightened awareness of health.
Of those consuming no and low-alcohol beverages, the majority are using them to substitute alcohol rather than having both in their diets. By reducing alcohol consumption, consumers are wanting to enjoy the taste of alcoholic drinks without getting drunk, as well as simply wanting to take a break from drinking.
When it comes to choosing a non-alcoholic drink, while there are over 200 companies in the UK solely producing them, most of us would prefer to buy alcohol-free drinks from alcohol brands – likely due to brand familiarity and loyalty.
With alcohol-free drinks proving so popular, the UK has also seen a steady rise in alcohol-free restaurants and bars. While an alcohol-free bar may sound like an oxymoron, they’re here to stay.
The rise of non-alcoholic bars caters to the consumer’s desire for a third space, away from work and home, that isn’t dominated by drinking culture and the pressure to consume alcohol. In fact, the demand for an alcohol-free third space has increased so much, it’s been reported that 29% of pub visits and 37% of restaurant visits now involve no alcohol.
Keeping up with the trends, our home city of Birmingham was named the third most sober-friendly city in the UK in 2021, following Manchester and Liverpool. We’re sure that cities will only continue to become more sober-friendly.
So, what does the future hold for no and low-alcohol drinks and bars? Many bars have been increasing their offering of alcohol-free beverages and this is only set to continue, with the market expected to consistently grow over the next five years.
As a business or venue, it is essential to follow the trend to cater to consumer demand by ensuring that there are plenty of alcohol-free options on the menu. It could also be beneficial to try out a ‘sober night’ during which no alcohol is served.
What are your thoughts? Do you own a hospitality business that is seeing a rise in the sale of no and low-alcohol drinks? We’d love to hear what you think!