New low-ABV craft beer signals category growth

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Low in alcohol: Responsibly is a 0.5% ABV beer
Low in alcohol: Responsibly is a 0.5% ABV beer

Related tags Beer

The launch of a new low-alcohol beer from a London craft brewery highlights strong growth in the category.

Ubrew has released its new low-ABV pale ale called Responsibly, with the aim of taking advantage of a rising number of consumers interested in the low and zero-ABV category.

Brewery co-founder Wilf Horsfall said the rise of the category and its popularity prompted him to develop his own range.

He said: “We wanted to get the word out about our existing range of beers, as well as to get in on the action of the increasing market for low-alcohol beers.

“This beer and its hilarious campaign doesn’t take itself too seriously but it is a serious pale ale, brewed in the proper way.”

Responsible drinking is a key growth area and a low-ABV beer was key to tapping into the category, said fellow co-founder Matt Denham.

Symbol of the revolution

He said: “Responsibility is a symbol of the revolution of craft breweries away from the big beer companies.

“But, in the end, it is a craft quality, low-alcohol beer that is promoting a way to drink responsibly.”

The zero-ABV and low-ABV beer category is now worth £28.9m to the UK on-trade with value sales growing by 6.4% year on year, according to CGA Strategy.

A staggering 10,163,981 bottles of zero-ABV/low-ABV beer were sold in the on-trade during the past 12 months, a rise of 3.1% compared to the year before.

Suffolk brewery St Peter’s unveiled its alcohol-free beer called Without last year, which managing director Steve Magnall pitched as the “saviour of the country pub”.

He urged licensees to jump aboard the no-alcohol beer bandwagon and likened the growth of the category to craft beer.

From the fridge to the front

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Magnall said: “Operators have to be brave because it is a massive market and they are not addressing it yet.

“The same was said about craft beer and look at that now – everyone wants craft!”

While the alcohol-free sector is rapidly on the rise​, CGA Strategy commercial director Graeme Loudon advised operators how they can make their low or zero-ABV products more appealing to the less-alcoholically inclined.

He said: “To make the breakthrough, the beers need to move from the fridge to the front bar to really drive that growth and to start acting more like one of the world lager brands that does really well.

“It needs to have some good branding including glassware with a really eye-catching font and be positioned on the front bar.”

Related topics Beer Ale & Stout

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