With research companies like Mintel indicating that consumers around Europe have adopted a new outlook to No Alcohol/Low Alcohol Beers, NABLABs have developed a sophistication about them that presents well to the Irish consumer – especially at this particular time of year.
After a couple of shaky starts, a bright future is predicted for NABLABs – and this prediction is not confined just to Ireland.
“The market for Non-Alcoholic and Low Alcohol Beers has doubled from 2000 to 2015,” according to the Brewers of Europe, “Beers below 3% ABV now represent around 6% of the overall European beer market, reaching 14% in some countries. They are proving ideal for occasions where people wish to a have a great-tasting drink but either cannot, or do not wish to, consume more or any alcohol, for example before driving or when pregnant.”
Elsewhere, market researchers Euromonitor have found that non-alcoholic beer still represents the fastest-growing area of the beer market in Europe, projecting an increase of 26% between 2013 and 2018.
No Alcohol/Low Alcohol beers are particularly popular with consumers in Spain and Germany where these two countries top the list of mature markets in Europe for NABLAB consumption.
And Lower-Alcohol Beer sales have shown steady off-trade growth in the UK over the last three years according to a report last year from Mintel.
In its report on Attitudes towards Low- and Non-alcoholic Drink in the UK it found that 39% or two in five consumers believed that there were not enough Lower/Non-Alcoholic drinks available to buy in shops and pubs.
Consumers could also be more willing to try a Lower/Non-Alcohol drink if it was a brand that they knew.
“Brands also have to find ways of communicating value-for-money more effectively as 44% of drinkers would be interested in Lower/Non-Alcoholic drinks if they were noticeably cheaper than standard-strength variants,” concluded Chris Wisson, Senior Drinks Analyst at Mintel, in the report, “While Lower-Alcohol drinks do benefit from tax breaks, many consumers appear to expect greater savings than these can accommodate. Rather than focusing on the absence of alcohol, brands should instead communicate what they have included which justifies their price. Examples of this include a complex production process, unique ingredients or added flavours such as citrus, all of which can make these drinks seem more premium.”
Nevertheless, some 48% of consumers in the report wouldn’t find a Low/Non-Alcoholic version of a draught beer appealing but there again, 45% of them disagreed that it’s embarrassing to drink low/non-alcoholic drinks in the pub.
Taking the world-view, Chris Wisson’s colleague, Mintel’s Global Drinks Analyst Jonny Forsyth, believes, “NABs will be a key pillar of the strategy to target ageing Western populations with very different product needs”.
And his view seems to be backed by at least one of the major brewers, ABInBev.
Through its Global Smart Drinking Goals strategy AB InBev wants to ensure that NABLABs represent at least 20% of its global beer volume by 2020.
NABLABs – when’s best?
Research carried out by Kantar Worldpanel’s Alcovision report from March last year discovered that daytime and weekday evenings represent key consumption occasions for alcohol-free beer with ‘Designated Driver’ the most common reason behind the NABLAB choice at 29% of respondents. A desire to avoid a hangover the following day was next at 20%.
Here in Ireland, the on-trade NABLAB market grew volume by 2.9% MAT to October this year while values rose by 2.8% to €8.4 million according to Nielsen.
Off-trade NABLABs witnessed stronger volume growth – 6.3%, with a 6.9% growth in value to €3.1 million.
Carlow-based Bayern Beers is a new family-run wholesaler of hand-crafted Alcohol Free beers from award-winning independent artisan craft breweries in Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany.
Regensburg, with extensive links to the nearby famous hop-growing area the Hallertau, is recognised as a centre of excellence for brewing throughout Germany.
Bayern Beers offers traditional hand-crafted Helles Alcohol Free Lager and Alcohol Free Weizen (Wheat Beer) from independent Bavarian craft breweries strictly brewed according to the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516 – exactly 500 years ago this year.
These independent local craft breweries offer a ‘New World meets Old World’ brewing approach. They contribute to modern Alcohol Free craft beer with unique and creative hand-crafted brews that merge the tradition of timeless Bavarian Beer styles with exceptional modern-day brewing from the ‘Spital Brauerei’- brewing on the same site since 1226.
It was here that Anton Miller became the youngest master brewer ever in Bavaria at 21. He’s now is a qualified beer sommelier, a jury member of the World Beer Cup and European Star and is internationally-recognised as an ‘unbelievable talent’ in the brewing world.
Kopparberg, known for its innovation and refreshing flavours in the cider market, is the only cider brand in Ireland to offer alcohol-free variants. Consumers can still enjoy the same refreshing Kopparberg taste in Strawberry & Lime, Pear and Mixed Fruit flavours but without the alcohol.
A great alternative to the original cider for the Designated Drivers or those embarking on ‘Dry January’.