Experts reveal why no and low alcohol is taking over the drinks industry

Non-alcoholic beverages have been on the rise over the last couple of years, no longer exclusively for pregnant women or designated drivers, and are set to be huge in 2022. As we look forward to those summer months, non-alcoholic drinks are expected to increase in sales amongst consumers but what makes them so appealing? 

Here, Steph Buttery, drinks industry expert and founder of Chu Lo, talks about the growing ‘low and no’ sector and why consumers are demanding even more.

Inclusivity 

“Before the now widely available non-alc cocktails, low alcoholic beers and alcohol free spirits, any celebratory occasion was marked with some champagne, and shots were the life of the party. But for those who choose not to drink it can feel slightly excluding, especially at social events or parties. Today, health conscious party goers, sober curious people or even those who like to take part in dry Jan can still feel included thanks to the variety of low and no on offer. The freedom of choice is key – There are only so many lime and sodas you can drink in one night!”

Generational change 

“Gen Y and Z are particularly fond of the low and no alcohol trend. Perhaps similar to millennials becoming aware of the dangers of smoking, the younger generations are being introduced to alcohol at a time where we are promoting healthier lifestyles and alternatives. This consumer shift has slowly increased through the older generations too but is particularly strong among young people and will only continue to rise as the youngest generation of all approach 18. In fact, 43% of non-drinkers choose Soft Drinks as the best alternative to alcohol*.”

Pandemic impacts 

“As with most sectors, Covid has definitely impacted our choices. Since the pandemic, people are more health conscious in general. Due to alcohol’s negative effects on the body and mind, leading to trouble sleeping as well as increased anxiety and depression in some people, something that was at its peak in the pandemic, people are looking for ways to decrease these stresses and ultimately turning away from alcohol.”

Relaxation 

“Alcohol has always been linked with relaxation as people pour themselves a drink after a long day at work. Hemp-infused spirits are also gaining momentum as people look for a zero-proof way to unwind in the evening. The floaty, relaxed, mellow feeling is an added bonus of the drink and still no hangover!”

Top taste 

“For those who enjoy the taste of alcohol, such as crisp white wines or deep reds, it’s key that low and no alcohol still offer those classic tastes with the added benefits of being non alcoholic. Alcohol-removed wine that’s aged and crafted in the same way as traditional wine is also about to join the latest happy hour lineup.”

Speaking of the influencers for her own non alcoholic soft drink, Buttery said: “Chu Lo was inspired by a popular alcoholic beverage in Japan called Chu Hai. The punchy sour flavours were incredible and there was nothing like it in the UK market. I’m not much of a drinker myself so it was important to me to create something that tasted amazing and didn’t contain alcohol. The low and no market is also very exciting right now as consumers are looking for more alternatives to their favourite tipples!”

Ben Branson, founder of Seedlip, said: “Six years ago when I launched Seedlip there were no genuinely delicious and grown up non-alc options in bars or on the shelves and now there are many and there are books, podcasts, influencers, shelves, menus, events and even tv shows dedicated to this space which is incredibly exciting!”