Speaking at The Morning Advertiser’s Beer Summit Event in Manchester, Chris Hannaway of brewer Infinite Sessions said that venues needed to work harder make the low/no-alcohol experience “as close as possible or better than the alcoholic drinks experience”.
“Alcohol-free beer doesn’t need to be the lame, inferior option,” he said. “You can put the same craftsmanship, care and love into is as a regular beer. Focus on experience and show customers you care about them."
Desire for new products
Hannaway added: “Too often low and no alcohol is treated as a box-ticking exercise. Alcohol-free shouldn’t be at the bottom of the agenda and those who aren’t drinking shouldn’t be made to feel like kids. Put care and attention into your menu so that it doesn’t feel like a lesser experience."
Citing data that consumption of alcohol in the UK is down 18% over 10 years, and 80% of adults are looking to drink less, Hannaway argued that pubs now need to stock a range of low and no-alcohol products to tap into customer desire for new products and experiences.
“One alcohol free beer per outlet is not good enough,” he said. “In this day and age, when people want to experience and taste different things, you need to build a range that reflects your establishment."
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He continued: “If you’re selling pales and IPAs then stock low-alcohol versions of these. It doesn’t have to be huge but three or four that match the rest of the bar would be ample. Rotational lines are a great way of going about this.”
Hannaway pointed to the growth of what he called ‘flexsobers’ (people who just want to cut down on their drinking from time to time), and suggested occasions such as Dry January were opportunities for venues to experiment with low and no-alcohol options.
“Use key moments like Dry January – use your rotational draught line to see how customers react to the product,” he said. “Similarly, there is evidence to suggest an surge in healthy intentions that take place on Mondays so look to tap into that with beer specials or events on Monday that bring alcohol-free beer to the fore. Then it won’t be such a risk for taking away from alcohol sales in the rest of the week.”
The Beer Summit was brought to you by The Morning Advertiser in association with Diageo and law firm TLT.