London – ‘Dry January’ may have ended last week, but new research suggests the movement is the start of a wider health and wellness trend that is gaining traction across the world, providing new opportunities for the global beverage alcohol industry.
As consumers increasingly look for ways to reduce their alcohol
intake, a comprehensive new study just released by the IWSR, the leading
authority on data and intelligence of the global beverage alcohol market,
offers an in-depth analysis of the growing low-alcohol and no-alcohol
categories. The IWSR Global Opportunities in Low- and No-Alcohol report
examines market sizing by volume, key players in the industry, on-trade
analysis, product innovation, and important consumer trends.
“The ‘Dry January’ movement isn’t new, but one of the reasons
we’ve heard so much more about it this year is the broader trend that points to
consumers’ increased interest in physical and mental health. And that’s
creating an interesting shift in consumer preference for low- and no-alcohol
beverages, outside of soft drinks,” said Mark Meek, the IWSR’s CEO. “For
leading producers of beverage alcohol, this obviously presents considerable
opportunity to develop new products, claim their share of the category and
ultimately grow revenue.”
The IWSR’s study indicates that at present, the low- and
no-alcohol sector is poorly served, with few clear category leaders. Though
forecasted to grow significantly, overall the current marketplace for low- and
no-alcohol products is still small in most parts of the world. In the UK, for
instance, low-/no-alcohol brands represent only 1.3% of the country’s total
beverage alcohol market. In the US that number is even smaller at 0.5%.
Nonetheless, research indicates that consumers are actively looking to reduce
their alcohol consumption and they universally support the notion of
low-/no-alcohol beverages if they can find products that meet their taste
Most bars and restaurants around the world that were surveyed by
the IWSR for this forward-looking study offered non-alcohol beer, while
non-alcoholic wine was notably absent. (Non-alcohol beer is growing rapidly, at
the same time that low-alcohol beer volumes are declining.) Bartender attitudes
towards low- and no-alcohol products varies widely by market as well. In almost
all markets, the IWSR’s research shows that the off-trade channel
(beer/wine/spirits retailers) offers significantly more selection of low- and
no-alcohol products than bars and restaurants.
Specific market trends in low/no alcohol include:
Though 52% of US consumers surveyed in the IWSR’s study report
that they’re trying to reduce their alcohol intake, over 70% of people say they
have not yet considered drinking low- or no-alcohol beverages. Low- and
no-alcohol products currently account for only 0.5% of the total US beverage
alcohol market in the US, however, a recent influx of investment by key
beverage alcohol companies is anticipated to draw in a new generation of
consumers, and contribute to the forecasted rapid growth of the category (while
growth in most alcohol categories remains moderate, and alcoholic beer is in
The largest category gainer in the low/no sector in the US will be
ready-to-drink products (at +38.8% CAGR 2018 to 2022). That’s followed by wine at
17.7%, and spirits at 7.1%. Low-/no-alcohol beer, which currently accounts for
the lion’s share of the low-/no-alcohol beverage market in the US, is predicted
to grow 5.6%.
Looking back 10 years ago it was virtually impossible to find
non-alcoholic beer in the UK’s ubiquitous pubs or supermarkets. That has
changed considerably. In fact, 2019 saw the emergence of the first non-alcoholic
beer-dispensing mechanism in London bars. Low-/no-alcohol products are
forecasted to show healthy growth in the UK, led by spirits (+81.1% CAGR 2018
to 2022) and ready-to-drink products (+44.3%). Cider in the UK is expected to
grow by 13%, with low-/no-alcohol wine up 6.6% and beer up 4.9%.
According to the IWSR’s survey, 65% of the heaviest UK alcohol
consumers (25-34-year-olds) are trying, or have tried, to cut back on their
alcohol intake. The study also shows that 61% of consumers indicated they have
not considered drinking low-/no-alcohol products – much potential remains to
convert those drinkers (especially as the number of products increases and
Spain is one of Europe’s largest and most well-established
low-/no-alcohol drinks markets, particularly in the beer and mixed drinks
segments. (The IWSR’s survey results show that 95% of Spanish consumers are
trying to reduce their alcohol intake, and 80% of people have or would consider
low-/no-alcohol products.) Consumption of low/no alcohol is normalised in the
country, with widespread coverage within both the on- and off-trade. This trend
has been driven by several cultural factors, including the introduction of
stricter drink-driving laws and a broader wellness and health-conscience
At least 50% of bars and 60% of restaurants surveyed in Spain have
low- or no-alcohol beverages, many with branded cocktails on their menus.
The IWSR’s analysis predicts that low-/no-alcohol spirits in Spain
will grow by 36.8% (CAGR 2018-2022), wine will increase 19.8% and beer 6.7%.
Alcohol consumption is widespread in Australia, but the youngest
age group has a fairly high proportion of non-drinkers. Mindful drinking is a
discernable trend in Australia, with over half of consumers surveyed indicating
they have or would consider drinking low-/no-alcohol products, spurring a small
but burgeoning low-/no-alcohol industry in the country.
Non-alcohol beer commands the largest share of the low- and
no-alcohol market in Australia but is expected to decline very slightly by
-0.1% (CAGR 2018-2022). Low-/no-alcohol spirits are predicted to grow 28.6%,
albeit from a very small base.
While total beverage alcohol consumption in Germany has been in
decline recently and is expected to remain stagnant, the low- and no-alcohol
category is showing growth. Germany is a significant market for dedicated
low-/no-alcohol products, particularly non-alcoholic beer, with 60% of
consumers surveyed reporting that they have, or would consider, drinking
One of the factors contributing to growth and awareness of
low-/no-alcohol products are the ‘Alkoholfrei’ (alcohol-free) searchable
databases in all the major beverage ecommerce platforms in the country. There
are also platforms entirely dedicated to alcohol-free solutions.
Low- and no-alcohol
spirits are predicted to grow by 14.4% to 2022 in Germany. Ready-to-drink
low/no products are forecasted to increase by 13.3% and cider will be up 11.4%.
Wine (particularly driven by low-/no-alcohol sparkling products) will show
growth of 4% in the country, and beer at 1.6%.