Low- and no-alcohol beer sales not just driven by Dry January
Research from supermarket chain Tesco has suggested that it isn’t just abstinence at the beginning of the year that is propelling the growth of the low- and no-alcohol beer category.
Spikes of interest and in low- and no-alcohol drinks do often occur in January, with alcohol-free beer brand Freestar (which is listed at Tesco) reporting a 427% increase in sales in the first week of 2023, as compared against 2022.
However, the growing demand for lower-ABV beverages is also seen at other times of the year. According to Tesco, Christmas week 2022 saw very high demand for low- and no-alcohol beer, 43% greater than Christmas week the year before. This may well be a reaction against the excessive consumption of alcohol that the festive period is often associated with, but also a symptom of year-round consumption of these drinks, which will spike during social gatherings in December.
Indeed, overall, the low- and no-alcohol beer category has grown significantly for Tesco, with a 40% rise over the last two years driven by the arrival of dedicated brands, including Freestar, Athletic Brewing and Lucky Saint.
Tesco low- and no- beer buyer Sam Harrop said that these brands have been highly important for growth: “Interest in no and low alcohol beer is so strong that dedicated brewers have emerged in recent years which has resulted in more choice for shoppers. This has led to great improvements in quality with these specialist brewers inspiring far better ingredients and processes in order to create full-bodied no and low beers that taste authentic.”
Buying habits for these lower alcohol, alternative beers are also reportedly evolving: as consumers try more drinks in the category, they become more confident in the product and, according to Tesco, go from purchasing single cans to larger packs.