There have long been options available that are alcohol-free substitutes for alcoholic beverages. This industry, however, has been thriving as of late.
We had “almost beer” for a very long period, which was somewhat of a joke during that time. A lot of people would consume them, but they wouldn’t let on. And that has changed drastically today.
Non-alcoholic bars catering to the “sober curious” have started popping up all around and have grown rapidly.
Some of the largest producers of alcoholic beverages have increased the number of their products that contain no alcohol in recent years such as Molson Coors, Heineken, and AB InBev. Smaller businesses have also entered the market, such as Athletic Brewing’s alcohol-free craft beer and Seedlip’s alcohol-free liquor alternatives.
Several years ago, Seedlip began to gather momentum, which continues to this day.
There has been a 100% increase in the number of bars and restaurants that have Seedlip on their drink menus over the past year, and new alcohol-free beverages are beginning to appear on store shelves and on the menus of small restaurants.
Compared to traditional alcoholic beverages, the market for alcohol-free alternatives is still rather small. However, while alcohol sales decline, sales of alcohol-free alternatives are growing.
NielsenIQ reports that store sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the United States increased 116% to $4.5 million in the past year. Sales of alcoholic spirits decreased by around 1 percent to a little under $21 billion.
Nonalcoholic beer sales increased by 21% to $316 million while nonalcoholic wine sales increased by 20% to $50 million over the same time period. Beer sales dropped 4% to $46 billion, and wine sales dropped 6% to roughly $20 billion in the same year.
As demand for non-alcoholic alternatives increases, there is a growing need for companies to produce superior products as more of them enter the market.
This time, the market will push for answers and make them happen. There are opportunities to make money. So it seems that people are beginning to understand.
However, since alcohol serves a useful purpose, we ask if there is a practical limit to the sales of these items. To put it another way, how many individuals are interested in drinking alcohol but do not wish to become intoxicated?
Attending social events while consuming fewer alcoholic beverages
Younger consumers who wish to drink less but are not interested in refraining from alcohol have fueled the demand for non-alcoholic alternatives.
They don’t always abstain from alcohol; in reality, most are not. Even if they’re trying to reduce their drinking, they occasionally drink.
Some people, such as those participating in Dry January, may choose alcohol-free beer or cocktails. Another possibility is that they wish to go out late with pals but limit their alcohol intake. They may be avoiding a hangover or need to go home safely, for example. Another possibility is that they have heard about the hazards of drinking and just wish to cut back.
Those who drink could, of course, go for carbonated water or a Coke whenever they want. However, producers of non-alcoholic beverages are marketing their goods as more refined and tasty. In addition, their bright containers and entertaining packaging assist non-drinkers fit in.
The most significant trend in the industry is the concept that consumers may still connect, celebrate, and enjoy a delicious drink while refraining from alcohol, whether for personal or lifestyle reasons.
Throughout the recent pandemic, Erin Flavin consumed more alcohol than she had wanted to. She finally decided to give up alcohol in October of 2020. She researched alternative possibilities because she was sick of seltzer.
“I began with teas,” she stated. She found Rishi Tea & Botanicals, a company that produces “sparkling botanicals” beverages. They include grapefruit quince, dandelion ginger, and elderberry maqui, all flavored with red wine grape skins.
“I was drinking it a lot, in a lovely glass, and still doing my nightly routine,” she explained. “That was very helpful.”
In her Minneapolis hair salon, she began offering non-alcoholic beverages last year. Soon, she hopes to establish a non-alcoholic liquor store.
Although some, like Flavin, reviewed their drinking behavior during the epidemic, others had considered alternatives for years.
Non-alcoholic beers are becoming increasingly innovative
Approximately a decade ago, it was difficult for Ben Jordan to find anything pleasant and non-alcoholic to drink during graduate school parties.
“I wanted to enjoy a beer at events and in social settings, but I didn’t want the alcoholic symptoms.” He stated that non-alcoholic beer selections were “very poor” at the time.
He later co-founded ABV Technology, which sells and leases devices that extract alcohol from beer to local breweries, allowing them to participate in the movement.
The products of ABV Technology are also available to distilleries and wineries. Incorporated in 2017, Jordan is the company’s chief executive officer.
A surprise benefit for craft brewers considering producing alcohol-free beverages is the popularity of hard seltzer. Brewers may use the alcohol extracted from beer by ABV Technology’s devices to make hard seltzers. This allows brewers to transform alcoholic beer into non-alcoholic beer and popular hard seltzer.
Non-alcoholic beer may eventually account for 20% of the US beer market, according to our estimates. Currently, the outlook for the non-alcoholic beer market is quite optimistic.
Yet there are problems to solve, mainly as consumers deal with rising prices. Alcohol-free beer, wine, and spirits are expensive.
Amazon prices non-alcoholic spirits between $20 and $30 for each bottle. In addition, the price of a can of non-alcoholic beer is comparable to or even more than that of a can of ordinary beer of the same size. A small percentage of the market could be prepared to pay that much for that option.
Youth with disposable income who seek such goods for certain lifestyle considerations are willing to pay premium rates if the things are of high enough quality and are desirable to hold and be seen with.
However, how can you win over money-conscious skeptics? The difficulty is in convincing them that the product is of sufficient quality to merit purchase, that doing so will make them appear hip and desirable to others, and that doing so will be a positive experience.
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