Published on June 12, 2023
Low & No Alcohol: Not a Compromise
What should you be drinking in Dry January?
There is a myth behind serving non-alcoholic drinks. A lot of venues believe that their customers will turn their noses up at the alternatives on offer. However, it is time to change the narrative around 0% beverages. The marketing in the drink industry has conditioned consumers for years to think that alcohol is a symbol of a good time, a stress reliever, something for everyone. Well, this, of course, is not the case.
Non-alcoholic adult drinks were not marketed at all in the early days of their evolution. Large scale non-alcoholic beer was brewed for the first time during the American Temperance movement during a temporary Wartime Prohibition act in 1918. This was shortly followed by the National Prohibition Act which lasted 13 years. It was illegal to trade alcohol with an ABV higher than 0.5%; therefore, brewers got to work reinventing their beers to a lacklustre, less flavourful 0% version.
The recent years have brought a significant rise in innovation and, therefore, demand for alternatives. The International Wine and Spirits Record (IWSR) Drinks Market Analysis in 2021 stating that the total record of sales of no/low-alcohol drinks is now predicted to grow by over 31% by 2024 and that 58% of adults worldwide are looking to moderate their drinking, especially after the spike in heavy drinking and unhealthy side effects during the pandemic. There has also been a spike in non-drinkers as younger generations are choosing to substitute alcohol with alternatives.
Beer and cider are currently the most popular non-alcoholic alterative in the current market and have become a staple in every venue as these alternatives on the classic offerings that have come leaps and bounds in recent years as they are no longer the afterthought in the creative process.
BrewDog have been dedicated in creating an alcohol free version of their popular Punk IPA, giving us Punk AF (Alcohol Free). This beer is golden in colour and has bursting aromas from the abundance of hops present. With heavy grapefruit and tropical pineapple on the nose, this clean grassy aroma give touches of floral and citrus. There are varying levels of flavour that come from the Punk AF. It starts with a clean, light taste, moving through layers of fruity bitterness, initial citrus aromas and pine notes. Grapefruit lingers on the finish with the hinting bite of pepper.
Old Mout have created the non-alcoholic version of their classic Berries & Cherries flavour. With the same summery aromas with that signature burst of fruits of the forest. The taste is still a special blend of strawberry and raspberry with notes of blueberry. This is paired with a refreshing burst of juicy apple to give the sharpness needed to balance the sweet berries.
Low and non-alcoholic beverages are in the infancy of their evolution and it is only a matter of time before they are truly recognised by consumers. All venues need to realise that they are not tailoring their drinks menu to a large portion of customers (estimated to be around one-third to one-quarter of pub, restaurant and bar goers). It is time to pull our attention to the non-drinkers and place their choices in the spotlight. As the world becomes accustomed to ‘sober fun’, the demand is similarly increasing and where there was once a gap in the market is being filled with delicious alternatives that are no longer lacklustre and boring.