More young people are choosing sober lifestyles, with the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who do not drink having increased from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015. These figures have continued to increase over the last three years.
Drinking rates among British adults are at their lowest since 2005. A recent Office for National Statistics survey found the proportion who drank alcohol at least once a week declined from 64.2% to 56.9% last year.
According to analysis firm Kantar Wordpanel the demand for low- and no-alcohol wine was up 8% this year and non-alcoholic beers were up 58% compared to this time last year. The trend is creating a new market for major drinks companies, craft brewers and retailers.
Once limited to lime soda, juice or the old-fashioned Kaliber, non-drinkers now have dozens of options on the market. Beer super brands, Heineken and Budweiser, unveiled their alcohol-free version earlier this, and supermarkets Tesco and Aldi also got on board. Tesco introduced a choice of five wines with less than 0.5% alcohol and Aldi put two low-alcohol wines on its shelves.
To meet the demands of customers, The Dry Drinks company, announced it had launched the first in a series of alcohol-free products, starting with ‘Smashed Hops – Soft Beer’ and ‘Smashed Apple – Soft Cider'(both of which are 0.05% ABV). The company was formed 12 months ago by Richard Clark, the Marketing Director behind the launches of Crabbie’s Ginger Beer & Whitley Neil Gin, who designed the brand to ‘disrupt’ and ‘challenge’ the non-alcoholic drinks & soft drinks markets.
“The UK consumer is drinking less alcohol but is increasingly active in the rapidly changing out of home channels. Directly linked to our changing more balanced lifestyles & leisure time is a growing demand for premium non-alcoholic drinks for when drinking alcohol is not appropriate,” Managing Director Richard Clark said on the market opportunity.
“’To optimise in this significant market gap, The Dry Drinks Company’ has created products that bring together the fun, sociability & refreshment cues of soft drinks with the provenance / heritage of alcoholic equivalents – who would have imagined that in 2018 approx. 50% of consumers aged 18-45 would drink less than once a week.”
Although many licensed venues have upped their game and stock more zero- and low-alcohol drinks, some customers want an alcohol-free environment too.
Dry bars are not a new concept, temperance taverns provided a non-alcoholic community space in the late-19th-century. Today, groups like Club Soda advocate the acceptance of non-drinking and mindful drinking with festivals that attract thousands of attendees. Redemption bar in West London has thrived since it opened in 2014, offering alternatives to meat, sugar, wheat and alcohol. Increasingly abstinent Millennials and the recent popularity of clean-eating and veganism, mean a fresh demand for spaces void of temptations like sugar and booze.
Almost 100,000 people officially signed up to the “dry January” challenge this year – a 40% increase from 2017 – while millions more joined in unofficially. This is expected to rise in 2019, meaning more brands are in talks in developing premium non-alcoholic options that focus on flavour just as much as alcoholic drinks, as well as offering sober events to attract the increasing number of non-drinkers.