NoLos – a driven market

A discernible demand for lighter styles of beer containing lower alcohol levels but which nevertheless retain their taste has become apparent in the last few years as has that for low alcohol spirits - especially from the Millennials. Our Industry Report takes a look at the rise of the NoLo alcohol category in the drinks market that today displays more potential than ever before.

There are many reasons for today’s consumers to seek out what has been termed ‘NoLos’ or No-alcohol/Low-alcohol’ drinks. The hot Summer certainly played its seasonal part but there are more permanent considerations such as: work the next day, drink-driving restrictions, the simple desire to avoid drinking carbonated soft drinks for the whole evening and of course, the growing health-consciousness of the newer generations of consumers.

And it’s the significance of this last consideration – health and wellbeing among Millennials – that’s most likely to continue driving the development of this market and which remains crucial to the projected rise of non-alcoholic beer consumption in the UK market, according to leading data and analytics researchers GlobalData.

While the market for non-alcoholic beer might currently be described as ‘niche’, the segment’s 13% growth in the UK was the fastest of any strength of band during 2017 and another impressive performance is forecast this year.


GlobalData’s 2018 Q3 UK Consumer Survey found 37% of 18-24 year-olds were ‘often influenced’ by how a product affects their health and wellbeing when purchasing an alcoholic drink, with 34% of 25-34 year-olds ‘always influenced’.

“Currently 25-34 year-olds and 16-24 year-olds have the country’s highest per capita consumption rates for low and non-alcoholic beer,” comments Joe Hutson, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, “likely due to such a vast amount of young people being influenced by health and wellbeing factors.”

Sales of beers containing no alcohol rose by 58% in the three-month period to 12th August this year in the UK compared to the same quarter in 2017 according to Kantar Worldpanel figures which also indicate a rise of nearly 20% in non-alcohol beer sales from 2016 to 2017.

Global producers have also picked up on the rise of health-consciousness, particularly among younger consumers, thus ensuring the continuance of this upward growth curve for non-alcoholic beverages.

The latest Brewers of Europe report puts no-alcohol and lower-alcohol beer at 6% of the EU beer market. Last year, the EU produced nearly 900 million litres of non-alcoholic beer, according to data collected by Eurostat.

Heineken’s £6 million UK ‘Now You Can’ campaign for its new Heineken 0.0% was the biggest seen to date in the UK for a non-alcoholic beer.

What’s more, the younger drinking segment of the population seem happy to drink NoLos and perhaps more significantly – unlike previous generations – view it as being just as ‘socially acceptable’ as any other drink.        ?LkWhere non-alcoholic drinks and low-alcohol drinks used to be the default for those avoiding alcohol for any reason, the demand is out there now from those who’re making NoLos a conscious choice of ‘brand’ – and No & Low alcohol beers’ popularity as a drink in itself is growing.

NoLos enable those who don’t want to drink alcohol to still be part of every occasion in the pub.

A recent article in the UK marketing magazine Campaign pointed out that the underlying challenge for this market “is

to transition from Alcohol Free Beer being a negative choice, that would be entirely about avoiding alcohol, to a positive one about choosing a brand and product that genuinely appeals.

Ilaria Lodigiani, head of global marketing innovation, Heineken brand, characterises this as moving away from a focus on ‘can’ts’ – such as pregnant women and designated drivers – to ‘don’t want tos’, who ‘like the taste of beer but just don’t want to drink alcohol in a particular Moment’.”

Frank Lampen, Co-Founder of Diageo-owned incubator unit Distill Ventures, explained to just-drinks recently, “If I choose to not drink alcohol, I want an experience which is just as good as the experience I get if I choose to drink alcohol and traditionally, if we’re being honest, there have been very inferior choices.”

But “inferior choices” was “then”.

This is “now” and with a growing number of consumers looking at all the health aspects including alcohol content, sugar intake and – most important of all – taste, a whole new market segment is opening up.

And the generation following the Millennials are even more concerned about lowering their alcohol intake according to marketing consultancy Protein’s report on their attitudes towards alcohol.

Protein’s Youth Report contains the results of a global survey which found that 55% of Generation Z consumers now drank less or had recently stopped drinking altogether.



NoLos in Ireland

The situation here in Ireland seems little different with ‘mindful drinking’ pushing demand for NoLo alcohol beverages among those consumers recently reaching legal drinking age.

This has resulted in the manufacturers and distributors of beers and spirits here introducing new product onto the Irish marketplace geared to these consumers through lower ABV variants of popular brands, which bodes well for the future of this market segment.

The Vintners Federation of Ireland’s Chief Executive Padraig Cribben reports pubs around the country witnessing “an increasing demand for non-alcoholic drinks, primarily driven by young adults”.

There’s been a particularly conspicuous rise in the number of NoLo beer products on the market in the past few years, again giving consumers more choice.

And the demand is there for more to be made available, with nearly six in 10 respondents to a recent Irish Brewers Association survey stating that they’d like to see more availability of non-alcoholic beer.

Undoubtedly the demand is growing for drinks with lower levels of alcohol but which still taste good despite having lower levels of alcohol, for example, beers that are ‘sessionable’.

Improvements in brewing technology have enabled brewers to control the alcohol levels created in the production process which obviates the need to de-alcoholise the beer subsequent to production and which helps protect the hop flavour, leading to a round of ‘cheers’ from these consumers’ taste-buds.

Nevertheless uptake here in Ireland remains less the case than in other countries with researcher Euromonitor International offering one explanation for this: the on-trade’s policy of selling non-alcoholic beers at regular beer-like prices might account for this country’s low sales in this beer category relative to other European countries as some degree of discounting on regular beer would be expected by Irish consumers.

In Spain, for example, NoLo beers have a 10% share of the total beer market there. Nevertheless there can be little doubt that we’ll see a spike in NoLo sales during the festive season if UK sales last Christmas are anything to go by.

The UK grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel published for the 12 weeks to 3rd December 2017 showed a small but rapidly growing market for non-alcoholic beers which Kantar’s head of Retail and Consumer Insight Fraser McKevitt described as “the new kid on the block this Christmas – growing sales by 27% during the past 12 weeks.”



Zero compromise on quality at a great price

Heineken 0.0% is a fantastic success in the No Alcohol Beer Low Alcohol Beer category. In the last six months this category has grown by 40% driven completely by Heineken 0.0%.

Price can be a big influence on purchase choice in the on-trade.

Brewed by beer-lovers with the same dedication and craft that defined Heineken in 1873, it’s the perfect non-alcoholic alternative for beer-lovers and consumers looking for balance and moderation. It has surpassed consumers’ expectations in quality and taste in sampling tests.

Nevertheless, Irish consumers are becoming more health-conscious. They’re looking for balanced alternatives to align with their health-focused lifestyles. The increasing importance that customers place on health is one of the reasons for the forecasted growth within this category, with Heineken leading the growth.

The projections in this up-and-coming category are promising. By 2020, Heineken predicts that one in five beers sold by Heineken globally will be a NABLAB. While sales are generally soaring in the off-trade, there’s more potential for growth across the on-trade ‘though.

For sales to grow, consumers’ expectations must be met.

Heineken Ireland carried out a study of 1,000 consumers in the No Alcohol Beer Low Alcohol Beer category which included asking how much they felt they should pay for a non-alcoholic beer, finding ‘people felt they should pay less than alcoholic beers but more than a soft drink’.

Establishing a RRP of €4 will reflect the needs and demands of this growing consumer base and help boost your sales.

Ask your Heineken Ireland sales representative for more information.




RTM launches alcohol-free G&T-flavoured drink & Lo Cal RTD

RTM Beverages has launched Ireland’s first pre-mixed alcohol-free Gin & Tonic-flavoured drink and a Low Calorie 4% RTD aimed at Millennials and calorie-conscious consumers.

Early last year the Dublin-based drinks innovation company with a major focus on the ‘NoLo’ categories launched Loki & Co, Europe’s first ‘Hard Seltzer’ – a category valued at over $500 million in the US.

With consumers becoming ever more health- and calorie-aware Loki & Co provides the perfect solution.  This Low Calorie ‘Seltzer’ is made with sparkling Irish natural mineral water blended with natural fruit flavours and wine producing a less sweet 4% ABV drink at only 85 calories per 275ml bottle. The Loki & Co range is available in three flavours: Apple & Elderflower, Orange & Mango and Strawberry & Lime.

Noki & Co – the latest innovation from the company – is Ireland’s first alcohol-free G&T-flavoured drink.

“The reaction to this launch has been extremely exciting” according to an RTM spokesperson, “there has been a real gap out there for alcohol-free solutions when people are out socialising but not drinking alcohol for any number of reasons. Noki & Co tastes like a real Gin & Tonic so Designated Drivers and non-drinkers can join in on the gin experience without the side-effects.”

Despite being just over a year old Loki & Co has enjoyed considerable success with distribution agreements in place in the UK and Europe, stated the spokesperson. Launched last November it’s now available to the on- & off-trade here from Richmond Marketing.

For sales enquiries contact: Richmond Marketing or e-mail:



Estrella Galicia 0.0%

Hailing from the Galicia region of Spain and imported by Carlow Brewing Company, Estrella Galicia 0.0% is a non-alcoholic beer with bright tones that are typical of a pilsner, with slight hints of sweetness, a beautifully balanced aroma of malts and hops and the satisfying bitterness that characterises the Estrella Galicia range.

Having quickly become a key part of the Carlow Brewing portfolio Estrella 0.0% is widely available in bars, restaurants and off-licences nationwide as a non-alcoholic option offering all the flavours and aromas of a regular beer.


For more information contact Carlow Brewing Company on +353 (059) 9720509, e-mail:



Stiegl Freibier

Stiegl Freibier, imported by Carlow Brewing Company, is a non-alcoholic lager packed full of hoppy flavours. This full-bodied, balanced alcohol-free beer is brewed using aromatic Austrian Saphir hops giving it a refreshing lime-like taste.

Since the introduction of Stiegl’s Freibier into the Irish market, its popularity has been steadily rising and is now stocked nationwide in a wide range of pubs, restaurants, off-licences and supermarkets.

The first recorded mention of Stiegl was in 1492 and since then it has developed from a small local brewery into Austria’s largest and most successful private brewery. The brewery’s top priority is the use of local raw materials and a respectful use of natural resources. However, in everything they do, making customers, suppliers and employees feel appreciated is of paramount importance.

For more information contact Carlow Brewing Company on. Tel – +353 (059) 9720509, e-mail –





Noreast, an independent family business based in Dundalk, has been specialising in sourcing, importing and marketing an exclusive range of NoLo beers such as Erdinger, Budvar and Krombacher since its formation in 1995.

Erdinger Alkoholfrei (ABV 0.5%) is brewed exclusively in the Bavarian town of Erding according to the strict Bavarian Purity Law of 1516. Besides being pleasingly refreshing it also boasts reduced calories (107 kj/25 Kcal per 100ml).

Monosaccharides like glucose and fructose provide energy quickly while polysaccharides (carbohydrates) provide longer-lasting energy. This Ideal Sports Recovery drink:


  • contains essential vitamins eg B12 and B9 which have numerous positive effects for body
  • stimulates immune system
  • promotes physical and mental performance
  • protects against exhaustion
  • helps preserve normal muscle activity
  • ensures balanced metabolism
  • has positive impact on cardiovascular system.


Available from Noreast, an independent family business based in Dundalk, which has been specialising in sourcing, importing and marketing an exclusive range of NoLo beers since its formation in 1995.


Budejovicky Budvar Non-Alcoholic

The combination of traditional Budvar brewing methods and the use of only natural ingredients creates a beer with a delicate, full flavour but a minimum content of alcohol (ABV 0.5%) for those who enjoy a great beer flavour but don’t want an alcoholic beverage.







Krombacher Non-Alcoholic

The purest ingredients and the care taken in the brewing process creates a beer of great style and flavour without the alcohol. Krombacher NA (0.5% ABV) enjoys a distinctive, crisp and refreshing taste with a mild hop aroma.







Bavaria 0.0%

Bavaria 0.0% is a non-alcoholic beer offering the benefits of zero alcohol while retaining the taste and flavour of an alcoholic lager. Usually, the alcohol is filtered out of a malt beer at the last stage of the brewing process. Bavaria, on the other hand, does things differently by altering the brewing process so that no alcohol is created at any stage. The result is a uniquely full-bodied flavour.

Looking at the latest market and economic trends, Irish consumers are changing. An upturn in the Irish economy over the last few years has left the public with more disposable income to spend on socialising with friends, with many consumers looking for new options when it comes to choosing a beer to drink.

In addition, consumers are moderating, a trend driving growth in the Low and No alcohol category. Bavaria 0.0% offers these customers a new option to moderate and reduce their alcohol intake, while still being able to enjoy a great-tasting beer.

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