One in three pub visits are now alcohol free, new study finds
Nearly a third of pub visits in the UK are now completely alcohol-free, according to new research commissioned by low-ABV brewer Lucky Saint, as the moderation trend continues to gain traction.
nearly one in three pub visits (29%) and 37% of restaurant visits are completely alcohol-free, according to the research conducted by insights firm KAM, and commissioned by Lucky Saint.
The average UK drinker is now frequently moderating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, according to the new industry report, which took data from a nationally representative sample of 500 UK adults over the age of 18.
People’s desire to reduce alcohol is also increasing, with more than half (55%) of adults responding positively to this claim, versus 32% in 2021 and 40% of adults in the pervious year.
The desire to moderate alcohol intake rises to as high as 65% in Gen-Z drinkers between the ages of 18 and 24.
Awareness of the alcohol-free category is at an all-time high, with 95% of respondents recognising that low- and no-ABV alternatives exist.
Lucky Saint hopes to tap into the on-trade when it comes to NoLo alternatives. The research found that one in three pub visits is now alcohol-free, meaning more space for lower alcohol beverages on pub and bar shelves.
Pub visits most commonly undertaken without alcohol included occasions such as family meals with young children, at lunchtime, and during daytime work meetings. The number of people working from home has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic, and home working made up 16% of the top alcohol-free pub, bar and restaurant trips.
Supermarkets remain the biggest market for the growth of alcohol-free choices from consumers in the UK, but Luke Boase, founder of Lucky Saint, pointed out the opportunity for on-trade businesses to capitalise on the growing trend.
Boase commented: “We’re at the start of a cultural shift in our attitudes towards drinking in the UK, as we see an increasing number of drinkers who prefer to moderate their choices.
“The likes of Spain, France and Germany all have at least five times the market share for low and no options compared to the UK. Consumers want taste and quality, but historically there’s not been a product that fits the bill.
“This report shows just how significant the opportunity is. In a sector that only knows people as drinkers and non-drinkers, there isn’t much understanding of how to cater to the majority of UK pub-goers currently.”
The research also revealed that a quarter of consumers would order tap water at a pub or bar when they do not want an alcoholic drink. This adds up to £800 million in missed annual revenue for venues, based on the assumed average drink spend of £2.50 and 50.8m pub goers in the UK wracking up an average of 83.2 visits per year.
“We need to rethink what we understand as a ‘non-drinker’ in the UK. Those who move fast to tap into this market in the UK will see huge rewards in the coming years,” Boase said.