Veganism and plant-based diets have been all the rage over the last year and it seems to me that the low and no alcohol movement is similar to veganism – small markets in comparison to their traditional equivalents but the people that are a part of the movement feel very strongly about it. While the low/no alcohol sector might not yet be mainstream, it’s currently a very ‘community orientated’ culture - Sober Girl Society has 89.5k followers on Instagram and Club Soda has 15k followers - and these groups are active in sharing teetotal recommendations on great drinks, brands and bars.
Consumers are likely to have a new view towards health following Covid-19 (consuming fewer calories, taking better care of our internal systems) and ‘healthier’ alcoholic drinks such as hard seltzers are already starting to make their way onto the market, driven by consumer desire for low sugar, low calorie easy drinking. If consumers are becoming more mindful of their drinking habits, companies, and the alcohol category as a whole, should be ready to adapt.
The low and no alcohol category is in its infancy and there are definitely some winners and losers at this embryonic stage. For me, beer has made great strides in recent years, with many products indistinguishable from their higher ABV counterparts but trying to find a low/no alcohol wine that isn’t incredibly sweet is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. There’s still plenty of room for innovation in this category that appeals to all palates.
Additionally, when it comes to no alcohol spirits, the prices can be eye watering, making it difficult for customers that just want to give the category a go. Low and no ready-to-drink cocktails or G&Ts, which naturally have a lower price point, could be a great way to bring new consumers into the category.
Although there have been claims from alcohol brands have made big claims surrounding low and no alcohol’s presence in its portfolio, there has been little traction made from any of the big players. Rather than this being a case of there being little thirst for it, could it possibly be due to the community-based nature of the category’s consumers who are rejecting the big multinationals? This is a space that smaller brands can really get their teeth into and build a loyal following with vocal brand ambassadors.