St Peter's Brewery chief executive Steve Magnall said alcohol-free beer is following the same trend as craft beer just a few years ago.
“The market will grow and I think it will be 10% of total beer sales soon and you can see that happening already,” he said.
“It’s a bit like craft beer a few years ago – that was a smaller percentage of the market, but it has grown.”
Turning their noses up
A rise in the number of consumers, especially the Millennial generation, turning their noses up at alcohol would drive more people towards the category, he added.
“You have for the Millennials coming through and people like myself who don’t want to drink too many units, but they don’t want a Coke, so they’re switching to other drinks.”
Currently 10 sites around the UK are stocking St Peter’s Without Original on draught, with all of those sites going through at least one keg a week, said Magnall.
The brewer is also the only in the UK to sell alcohol-free keg beer, he claimed.
Magnall’s point about the growth of alcohol-free beer is evident in recent news that Vintage Inns will stock and display the brewer’s Without Original ‘beer’ in 190 of its sites. It will be the only alcohol-free beer available across the pub chain.
The decision recognises the increasing number of consumers choosing not to drink, as well as a limited range of exciting products for designated drivers to drink.
Magnall added: “Without Original is proving popular in pub groups across the country. Pubs and restaurants are beginning to realise they need to offer customers more choice and better quality no and low-alcohol drinks to satisfy a growing demand.
“There is a growing demand for alcohol-free drinks across the industry and we expect more pub groups to follow Vintage Inns' example.”
He continued: “As we head towards Christmas, pubs and restaurants need to be responsible and provide options for the designated driver. We expect sales to increase dramatically during this period.”