Sierra Nevada has bought a US low ABV craft beer brand as brewers look to ‘alcohol plus’

Sierra Nevada, one of the USA’s largest independent breweries, has fully acquired San Franciscan craft beer brand Sufferest for an undisclosed sum.

Sufferest, which brews “functional beer” and specialises in low-alcohol and gluten-removed serves, announced the sale on Instagram on Monday 4 February.

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce that Sufferfest has joined the Sierra Nevada family,” it said.

“This partnership with Sierra Nevada enables us to do more of what we love: brew award-winning, functional beer for our sweaty tribe.”

Sierra Nevada one of the highest-grossing breweries in the US, raking in sales of $64.4 million in 2017, according to Nielsen data.

Sufferest was founded in 2016 by Caitlin Landesberg, a long-distance runner and veteran of the fitness marketing industry. Landesberg created the brand to target athletic, fitness-focused consumers.

It is Sierra Nevada’s first company acquisition, and comes as a number of alcohol companies have begun to toy with product launches and marketing that focus on health and wellbeing.

In the UK, for example, London-based craft brewery Nirvana produces a range of low and no-alcohol pale ales, lagers, stout and IPAs, and launched FitBeer, a 0.3% Bavarian Helles lager carrying just 66 calories and added vitamin B12 and folic acid, in 2018. Challenger grocer Aldi also added another low calorie Prosecco to its wine portfolio last month.

Speaking at the launch of a report on Generation “Z” and the drinking habits of 18-24 year olds last week Jono McConnell, senior planner at creative agency Red Brick Road, said he believed there is a growing demand for “alcohol plus” products – i.e. drinks with supposed health benefits.

“They do seem to be popular and I think there is a space in the market for these beers.”

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