Tapping into the low and no alcohol market

    Players large and small are joining one of the fastest growing categories in the world.

    By Product of the Year Australia Director Sarah Connelly.

    Product of the Year Australia Director Sarah Connelly.
    Product of the Year Australia Director Sarah Connelly.


    Nielsen reported growth of 32.5 per cent growth in sales of no to low alcoholic beverages during lockdown in the UK. In Australia growth in low and no alcohol spirits is predicted to rise by 28.6 per cent over the next year, so while Australians are considered some of the heaviest drinkers in the world, it appears we’re also embracing the global trend towards more ‘mindful drinking’.

    Over the past 12 years I’ve seen many categories emerge relating to health and wellbeing in the form of a variety of analogues from gluten-free to plant-based alternatives. In October 2019, when I quit alcohol, I was also on the hunt for one: alcohol-free wine. I found a solitary independent online retailer and a few token gestures in Dan Murphy’s and Coles.

    Fast forward 12 months and the words ‘sold out’ appear daily on products offered by the three main online and exclusively alcohol-free retailers that have launched this year. Coles has recently added McGuigan’s Zero range of non-alcoholic wines to its shelves, while Lyre’s Spirit Co, a brand that produces premium alcohol-free spirits, has just secured $16 million in growth capital to expand the category.

    Online sales growth in this space can be attributed to both changes in shopping habits due to Covid and the simple fact that there is still limited variety in stores. As a result, sales have lifted significantly and innovation in the fulfilment of fragile products has also been fast-tracked.

    So, if you’re a retailer or a producer considering dipping your toe in the alcohol-free pond, here are some statistics:

    You may also like to explore the growing number of social media influencers and communities. Here, scores of ‘mindful’ and ‘non-drinkers’ are launching accounts daily, promoting the benefits of an alcohol-free life. This is where they’re vocal about wanting more options and where they explore and promote every new alternative as soon as they can get their hands on it.

    So, while many may be drowning their sorrows, there’s an unquestionable and uplifting opportunity for retailers, venues and producers alike that want to contribute to health and wellbeing by meeting this growing consumer demand.

    For the full article, The Beverage Guide, and more trends and insights, see Convenience World November/December issue.

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