One major trend for breweries in 2021 is the growth of non-alcoholic beverages, and more specifically, the prevalence of non-alcoholic (or NA) beer. Purists may scorn the idea, but there are many breweries out there that are creating delicious, well-made NA beers. If you’re interested in taking advantage of this growing market share, read on to find out what the data say about this change to the beverage industry.
What the Data Say: Why Non-Alcoholic Brews Are Catching On
Just how quickly is this trend growing? Reports suggest that the non-alcoholic beer market will be worth $35 billion USD globally by 2030, more than triple its current size. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported that non-alcoholic beers showed huge growth over the previous year’s sales, even compared to a similar pattern of growth for alcoholic beers.
This rise in the popularity of non-alcoholic beverages means that now is a great time to experiment and innovate in this area. Consumers are looking for non-alcoholic options, and all signs point to this market continuing to grow over the coming months.
The COVID-19 public health crisis has brought personal health to the forefront of everyone’s mind. For many, this means they are valuing not just exercise and a healthy diet, but also trying to eliminate anything that might have a negative impact on their health. Alcoholic beverages are usually full of empty calories and unnecessary carbs. Non-alcoholic beverages are often lower in calories and carbs, which is great for anyone looking for a flavorful, healthy drink. Some even say that non-alcoholic beers are good for your health because they contain some of the health benefits of hops without the health drawbacks of alcohol.
Cutting Back on Alcohol Consumption
Not everyone who drinks NA beer is committed to complete sobriety. NA beer can supplement your drinking if you’re looking to have some alcohol but not too much, if you prefer not to drink alcohol on a work night but still want the taste, or if you’re reducing your consumption for health reasons. When it comes to alcohol and health, more is worse, with heavy drinkers of alcohol at higher risk for health problems such as cardiovascular conditions, alcohol dependence, and cancer. Some consumers are opting to cut back by sampling non-alcoholic beverages.
Flavor & Exploration
You might have heard that non-alcoholic beer tastes terrible. Spoiler alert: that’s a myth! There are so many craft breweries out there dedicated to making delicious and unique beverages without the alcohol content of regular beer. These breweries brew their NA beer with careful attention to quality and flavor. Non-alcoholic beverages offer a whole new world to anyone looking to explore everything beer has to offer.
Brands Embracing the NA Beer Trend
Possibly the most well-known brewery on this list, Athletic Brewing creates healthy, good-tasting low-calorie beverages. As their name would suggest, they target a young and athletic crowd, which makes them well positioned to explore non-alcoholic options. They have a range of non-alcoholic beer options as well as non-alcoholic fruit-flavored seltzers brewed with hops. Some of their NA beers include Run Wild, a refreshing malty IPA, and Upside Dawn, a golden ale that’s crisp and light.
Two Roots Brewing Co. is a fully non-alcoholic brewery, crafting award-winning craft beer with 0.0% ABV. The brewery’s Enough Said Helles won the non-alcoholic beer-style category at the 2021 Great American Beer Festival, marking the third year in a row that Two Roots has snagged the gold medal in the non-alcoholic category.
Don’t limit your imagination to simply non-alcoholic beers; there are breweries out there creating all kinds of NA beverages. Hoplark Brewery, for example, makes Hop Tea, a tea fermented with hops but without sugar to create a flavorful, hoppy drink without the carbs or alcohol content of beer. Their Hop Tea line offers fans of hoppy beers a refreshing, non-alcoholic alternative to their usual favorites.
Brewdog offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers. Their non-alcoholic beers are brewed with a micro-fermentation process to preserve taste while keeping the ABV low. Check out non-alcoholic beers like Ghostwalker IPA or Punk AF. In addition to the many non-alcoholic options they offer, Brewdog also opened the world’s first non-alcoholic bar in London in 2020.
How to Break Into the Non-Alcoholic Beer Market
Ask Customers What They Want
Treat the development of a non-alcoholic beverage the same way you would any other new beer: start with what your customer wants. Who is your ideal customer for this new product? Of your existing products, which are most popular among people who fit that profile? You could even create a short survey to send to your email list or poll people informally in your taproom, if you have one. Get a feel for what your customers are looking for right now and let that spark your imagination for your next brew.
Social Media Promotion
Once you’re ready to start promoting your new NA beverage, it’s time for a marketing plan. Since non-alcoholic beverages are trendy right now, and only growing in popularity, promoting them on your Twitter or Instagram can improve engagement with your customers as well as spread the word about your new product. Stand out from the crowded social media space with consistent branding across your entire product line and keywords specific to non-alcoholic beverages, such as AF (alcohol-free) or zero-proof.
To combat some of the stigma among beer lovers about non-alcoholic beer, you might want to incorporate sampling into your marketing plan. If you have a taproom, you could offer customers samples of your new NA beverages when they buy another beverage. You could even offer a beer flight of NA beers in development and ask for customer feedback! If you don’t have a space open to the public, you could always focus on promoting NA beers on your website or through your sales reps.
Will your business be exploring the possibility of brewing alcohol-free beverages in the future? Use our tips to take advantage of this fast-growing segment of the market!