With Nielsen identifying health and wellbeing as one of the top trends dominating the type of food and drink people buy in 2019 more people are choosing to drink less alcohol or not to drink at all.
Since 2001 average per adult alcohol consumption has fallen by 23.2% in Ireland while sales of Low- and Non-Alcoholic beer increased by 60% here between 2017 and 2018 to 30,000 Hectolitres.
When people do drink, there’s an increasing trend towards choosing quality over quantity.
As a result the drinks industry is going through a premiumisation phase, evidenced by continued growth in premium, super-premium and craft categories.
This has also resulted in significant innovation among brewers, who’re creating Low and Non-Alcoholic beer alternatives, to which health-conscious consumers have been receptive.
“The key thing for brewers is maintaining the excellent taste that consumers are used to with quality beer products on the market,” said Jonathan McDade from the Irish Brewers Association, “We’ve seen this in the Irish market with Diageo introducing Pure Brew and Heineken introducing Heineken 0.0 and Heineken Light, all of which consumers have responded positively to.
“These alternatives have proven useful to consumers who may be up early the next day for work, who may be training in the gym or watching their weight or indeed now, in the hot and humid conditions, just trying to cut down on alcohol consumption.”
Beer is Ireland’s most popular drink and research has shown that there’s demand for more options on the market with 57% of people saying they’d like to see more availability of Non-Alcoholic beer according to a survey carried out among over 1,300 respondents by TheTaste and the IBA.
The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland – of which the IBA is a member – also believes it’s useful to look internationally to see what to expect from the Low and Non-Alcoholic beer market in the coming years.
“In the UK, sales of Low and Alcohol-free beers jumped 28% in the year to February 2019 compared with the previous 12 months,” Jonathan McDade pointed out, “Many independent brewers are focusing on only producing Low and Non-Alcoholic Beers.
“We may see more independent and craft producers introducing these Low and Non-Alcoholic beers here or indeed focusing their business solely on this offering as we have seen in the UK.”
Jonathan also points to Spain, where beer-drinking is popular and an integral part of the Mediterranean culture. Spain has witnessed a huge increase in popularity of Non-Alcoholic beer in recent years.
“In Spain, Non-Alcoholic beer has become popular, accounting for around 12% of the overall beer market which is very significant, driven by the country’s after-work beer and tapas culture,” he stated, “Elsewhere, we also see this trend materialising throughout other countries across Europe, leading to a significant increase in the sale of Non-Alcoholic beers, including a 33% sales increase in the Netherlands and an 80% sales increase in Poland in 2018.
“This year it’s anticipated that Low and Non-Alcoholic beers will become increasingly popular again as this trend continues through 2019.”