Young drinkers lead alcohol free beer trend

Young drinkers lead alcohol free beer trend (BBC)

  • The article highlights the alcohol free craft brewery, Nirvana in London, which started operations in 2017 & now sells close to half a million bottles pa. The company also exports to Scandinavia & Switzerland.
  • Sales of low & alcohol free beer grew 28% y/y in the UK low alcohol beer sales jump – Feb 2019. In Germany sales have reached nearly 7% of the market, and in Spain its now up to 14% of all sales. Spain is the world’s largest per head consumer of alcohol free beer.
  • One question is around what is an alcohol free beer – in most of the European Union its alcohol free if it contains less than 0.5% alcohol (apparently comparable to the alcohol in a ripe banana ?). By contrast the UK has tougher standards for domestically brewed product, down at less than 0.05%

Analysis and Comments

  • This is part of a wider change in what people are consuming in terms of what they drink (not only a shift to low alcohol beer, but also toward less sugar & a continuing shift from standard beer to premium & wine/spirits) and what they eat.
  • A recent report from the Alliance House Foundation (& reported by the UK NHS) Younger people turning their backs on alcohol, claimed  that the percentage of under 25’s who say they never drunk alcohol rose from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015. While we have some issues around the high level of apparent alcohol abstinence, the overall trend is consistent with figures we have seen for the US, France etc.
  • It has been reported that ABI Inbev, the world’s largest brewer, is aiming to grow low & alcohol free beer to 20% of their beer portfolio by 2025, with the growth of sales in the on-trade being an important part of the trend.

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