Once seen as little more than a niche curiosity category, low and no alcohol beers now represent a significant opportunity for venues across the country. CGA data from July 2023 show that there has been year-on-year growth of 23% in sales of low and no alcohol beers in the on-trade, with the market now sitting at annual sales of more than £115m.

Additionally, almost a third of consumers (31%) are actively drinking less alcohol to be healthier, according to CGA BrandTrack data from the final quarter of 2022.

Low and no alcohol beer has been in steady growth for several years, driven by an increased focus on health and by a wider trend towards moderation. The category is well on the way to becoming mainstream and that’s a trend likely to be accelerated over the coming few months as New Year’s resolutions and Dry January see more consumers aiming to moderate or even eliminate their alcohol consumption entirely.

It is estimated that one in six (18%) of adults who drink alcohol took a month off drinking in January 2023, which represents around 7.9 million people – a 22% increase on the previous year’s figure.

It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that while ‘Dry January’ is peak moderation month, June is actually the most popular time to moderate alcohol consumption.

This presents an important opportunity for venues to drive new footfall and sales, particularly given the major advances that have been made in recent years in terms of the variety, quality and availability of low and no alcohol beers.

Two fantastic examples of this are Estrella Galicia 0.0% and Old Speckled Hen Low Alcohol.

ESTRELLA GALICIA 0.0%

Produced by a 115-year-old family-owned independent brewery in Galicia in northwestern Spain, Estrella Galicia 0.0% was voted “Spain’s best tasting non-alcoholic beer” by Spanish consumer organisation OCU – and for good reason.

Greene King is the UK’s exclusive distributor of this top-quality beer, which is brewed based on the full-strength Estrella Galicia recipe using an interrupted fermentation technique specifically designed to ensure the highest quality and taste while avoiding the generation of alcohol.

A versatile refreshing and light Pilsner-style beer, it is full of hoppy and bitter flavours yet with a crisp freshness that makes it great for an aperitif and general drinking but also for pairing with dishes such as seafood, cheeses or lighter meats.

What’s more, the Estrella Galicia brewery officially achieved carbon neutrality back in March 2021, something that is important to an increasing number of drinkers.

Interestingly, alcohol-free beer accounts for a significant 14% of the total beer trade in Estrella Galicia’s native Spanish market. In the UK, alcohol-free beer accounts for less than 1% of total sales – so we can see huge growth potential here, especially with the breakthrough of non-alcoholic beer onto draught.

Estrella Galicia 0.0% pours through conventional set-ups and is dispensed from a reusable 20L steel keg situated in your coldroom, cutting down on your bottle and plastic recycling, and reducing waste.

OLD SPECKLED HEN LOW ALCOHOL

Meanwhile, Old Speckled Hen Low Alcohol allows venues to leverage the power of one of the UK’s best-loved beer brands but with an alcohol content that’s less than 0.5% ABV.

Crafted by the master brewer of Old Speckled Hen, it is a refreshing low-alcohol beer brewed with fifine ingredients that delivers a taste and aroma evocative of the nation’s favourite premium ale but with 54% fewer calories.

Malty, toffee, lightly roasted notes on the nose are followed up by an abundance of malts and a light toffee character on the palate, culminating in a delicious, refreshing beer that provides the perfect accompaniment to traditional British foods, premium pies, gravies, and sausages – and it works perfectly with Sticky Toffee Pudding too!

There’s never been a better time to take a fresh look at your low and no alcohol beer range and to help your customers discover Spain’s best-tasting non-alcoholic beer as well as a low alcohol version of the nation’s best- selling premium ale.

2023 LOW AND NO

A report by research consultancy KAM Media took a deep dive into low and no alcohol consumption trends and discovered, among other things:

6.2 million adults actively moderated their alcohol consumption last summer.

More than 1-in-3 pub and restaurant visits are alcohol-free.

3.7 million customers said they ruled out a specific venue in a three-month period due to poor alcohol-free options.

46% of people said their choice of venue would be affected if they’re visiting a venue and one or more people in the group is not drinking alcohol that day.

The number of adults consuming alcohol weekly fell to 76.9% in 2023 from 90% the previous year.

9.7 million adults tried low or no alcohol beer for the first time in 2023.