The Surprising Surge in Popularity of Non-Alcoholic Beer

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If you thought beer drinkers were primarily in it for the buzz, you could be mistaken. The surprising surge in the sale of non-alcoholic beer would suggest there is more to loving beer than the effects of the alcohol. In the last year, there has been a remarkable 38% increase in the sale of  non-alcoholic beer nationwide. Why now? After all, non-alcoholic beer has been around for some time. It even existed in Prohibition Era times! There may be a few reasons for its recent growth in popularity. 

First, people are increasingly concerned about health and wellness. Although people like to sit and enjoy a nice cold beer, they are also trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Especially this past year, with the COVID-19 pandemic concerns, people have been more focused on lifestyle choices that protect their health. As great as traditional beer can be it does not have the same health benefits as non-alcoholic beer. More and more people are wanting to reduce their alcohol consumption for health reasons. In fact, according to a survey by vox, when asked why they selected non-alcoholic options, 40% of people said they were trying to decrease their alcohol consumption. The increasing availability of good tasting non-alcoholic options has made it easier for some beer lovers to realize that goal. They can stop drinking alcohol while still enjoying a nice cold beer. 

Non-alcoholic beer has around half as many calories as its alternative alcoholic beer, which is another benefit for health and weight conscious consumers. And, non-alcoholic beer can keep you hydrated, instead of dehydrating you the way traditional beer does. Some non-alcoholic brands can actually enhance hydration by adding electrolytes and these can aid in post workout recovery and promote better sleep. This has created a new market for beer as a post work out option that promotes well-being. Athletic Brewing Co., is a brewery dedicated to non-alcoholic beer. Co-founder, Bill Shufelt decided to cut out alcohol so he could start to live a healthier and more productive life without any morning hangovers. He quickly realized that there were not many options for non-alcoholic beers, and that was the beginning of Athletic Brewing. It was advertised as a way to have a beer while skiing or engaging in other activities where you don’t want to be impaired Athletic Brewing was the first fully non-alcoholic craft beer brewery, and the popularity of its offerings continues to grow. It turns out that non-alcoholic beer can be a perfect complement to an active, sports oriented day both during the activity and afterward. And, consumed after a work-out it can be both refreshing and encourage healing and regeneration. 

Another factor to explain the rising popularity of non-alcoholic beer is the increase in the number and variety of available non-alcoholic options. There are more options for non-alcoholic beer than ever before. In 2017, Heineken came out with Heineken 0.0.  Today, even small breweries are following the trend and electing to brew non-alcoholic options. Now you can choose from pale ales, and IPAs and all different types of beers that you would not have had before. In the future we may see more and more breweries devoted solely to non-alcoholic beer and more health stores carrying these beers. If you're curious if your customers would go for a non-alcoholic option, check out this research guide on mapping out their influences and motivations when it comes to beer.

We can also not underestimate the impact of social media. Social media has been used effectively to promote non-alcoholic beer and to get out the healthy alternative message without sacrificing taste. People are drawn to new trends and social media helps spread them quickly. Folks who are curious about how the beer would compare to the traditional alcoholic options are giving it a try, liking it and switching over. 

As trends toward more healthful living continue, and the flavor of non-alcoholic beers grows to rival that of traditional options, we are likely to continue to see growth in non-alcoholic beer sales.

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