We were cynical at American Craft Beer as to the actual resilience of the low- and no-alcohol beer sector. We questioned its staying power, but we are being proven wrong…
The last thing we ever expected, was that we’d be introducing a regular column dedicated to buzz-free drinking, but we have to, there’s just too much going on.
Low- and No-Alcohol Beer Sales No Longer just a Dry January Thing
Research from supermarket chain Tesco (think Safeway but in the UK) suggests that it isn’t just Dry January that is propelling the growth of the low- and no-alcohol beer category.
Obviously sales spiked in January, but they are no longer limited to the first month of the year.
According to Tesco, Christmas week 2022 saw very high demand for low- and no-alcohol beer, 43% greater than Christmas week the year before with alcohol-free beer brand Freestar reporting a 427% increase in sales in the first week of 2023.
According to the Drinks Business, the low- and no-alcohol beer category has grown significantly for Tesco, with a 40% rise over the last two years driven by the arrival of dedicated brands, including Freestar, Athletic Brewing and Lucky Saint.
Tesco low- and no- beer buyer Sam Harrop said that these brands have been highly important for growth…
“Interest in no and low alcohol beer is so strong that dedicated brewers have emerged in recent years which has resulted in more choice for shoppers. This has led to great improvements in quality with these specialist brewers inspiring far better ingredients and processes in order to create full-bodied no and low beers that taste authentic.”
Buying habits for these lower alcohol, alternative beers are also reportedly evolving: as consumers try more drinks in the category, they become more confident in the product and, according to Tesco, go from purchasing single cans to larger packs.
Lucky Saint to Open Non-Alcoholic Beer Pub in London
On January 24 Alcohol-free beer producer Lucky Saint has announced that it would be opening a central London pub in early March that will also serve as the brewery’s ‘brand home.’
Founded by Luke Boase in 2019, Lucky Saint joins a growing number of breweries in the United Kingdom and Europe committed to brewing high quality alcohol-free beers that doesn’t cut corners or muddy the head.
Brewed in Germany, using crisp spring water from Bavaria, Lucky Saint is only 53 calories per bottle and the unfiltered lager combines Pilsner malt with Hallertau hops in a “tailored brewing process” which successfully “retains its character and flavor.”
“We’re at the start of a cultural shift in our attitudes towards drinking in the UK, as we see an increasing number of drinkers who prefer to moderate their choices,” said Boase…
“Consumers want taste and quality, but historically there’s not been a product that fits the bill. This report shows just how significant the opportunity is.”
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