The Ultimate Guide to Low and No Alcohol

What’s new in alcohol-free cider

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Apples: low and no alcohol cider
Apples: low and no alcohol cider
With the trend of consumers drinking low and no-alcohol products not going away any time soon, according to a survey from the Portman Group, operators shouldn’t forget about booze-free cider options for their guests.

Figures show almost one quarter (24%) of British drinkers have either already switched some of their drinking to a low-alcohol alternative or would consider doing so by June this year.

A YouGov poll of attitudes towards low alcohol, the first of the Portman Group’s annual surveys into alcohol alternatives, revealed 7% of those surveyed have already switched some of their alcohol consumption to low or no-alcohol alternatives – while a further 18% are likely to consider doing so.

Data from CGA shows the no and low-alcohol cider category is a small segment of the drinks market but its average distribution is up by 59% (moving annual total).

CGA’s commercial director Graeme Loudon says: “With two thirds of consumers proactively trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, cutting down on how much alcohol they drink is something that many consumer groups are considering.

“This has given rise to a burgeoning market for no and low-alcohol drinks across all categories, with cider being no exception.

“It is important to note that consumers of no and low-categories are typically drinkers on moderation occasions as opposed to teetotallers and as the summer approaches, having a low or no-alcohol cider may be an option many consumers opt for.

“The category is still very much in its infancy, stocked in less than 10% of outlets and is yet to fully find its place in the market.

By tapping into the growing health trend poses an opportunity for the category to grow and given that no/low beverages was the second top drinks trend cited by on-trade retailers in CGA’s 2019 Business Leaders’ survey. It looks like a trend the on-trade is set to back.”

Last year, Cidermaker Westons gave its low-alcohol cider brand Stowford Press LA a new look in January in a bid to tap into the trend towards drinking in moderation.

The packaging design features the wording ‘low alcohol 0.5% cider’ in large blue typography and a new blue-coloured apple illustration also features in the background for the first time. The gold-coloured apple icon and gold rays remain in the design, reinforcing the cider cues.

Westons Cider Report revealed that 13% of cider drinkers in the on-trade view the ABV of their cider as very important and 28% view it as ‘quite important’.

Just over half (53%) of the answers cider drinkers gave for understanding their ABV were for reasons of responsibility and control (eg, don’t want to get drunk) and the most popular reason was because they didn’t like it too strong.

The report claimed this showed that most cider drinkers are making informed, responsible choices.

Co-founders of Craft Cider, Ed Calvert and James Waddington predicted no and low-alcohol cider will be a trend for 2019 among health conscious Millennials.

Swedish cider brand Kopparberg has a plethora of products that are alcohol-free to entice those who don’t drink booze in to the cider market.

Brand manager Rosie Fryer outlines why operators should consider stocking low and no-alcohol ciders in their back bar portfolio.

She says: “The wellness agenda is increasingly influencing ranging decisions. As consumers become more health-conscious and responsible, brewers and cider makers need to ensure they have a diversified portfolio with calorie-reduced, low and no-alcohol options to embrace the shift in behaviours.

“Two thirds of 16 to 24-year-olds claim alcohol is not an important part of their social life, 66% of people have visited a pub and not had alcohol and 39% of adults now opt for non-alcoholic drinks to aid personal health, demonstrating the increasing reach of mindful drinking – a movement operators cannot ignore.

“Through Kopparberg’s understanding of the market and our consumers, the Kopparberg range now has an alcohol-free range available in variants including Strawberry and Lime; Blueberry and Lime; and Pear. This range is growing at 23% year on year.

“To ensure operators are maximising the sales potential of their range and increase footfall, the following must not be ignored. Ensure you stock alcohol and non-alcohol products to cater for differing consumer needs and drinking occasions.”

While low and non-alcoholic cider isn’t a huge market, for those punters who do not drink, it is important to have a variety of options available to keep them coming back for more.

Related topics: Soft & Hot Drinks, Cider