Pubs must promote benefits to sell low-and-no alcohol beer

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Tackling preconceptions: Club Soda says pubs and breweries need to push the benefits of low-and-no alcohol beers
Tackling preconceptions: Club Soda says pubs and breweries need to push the benefits of low-and-no alcohol beers

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Pubs should take inspiration from Spain and Germany to promote the health benefits of low-and-no alcohol beer, according mindful drinking organisation Club Soda.
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Its How to Improve the Sales of Low and No Alcohol Beer​ report looked at the barriers for licensed venues’ sales of such products.

The report identified six barriers to sales of low/no alcohol

● Perceptions of quality

● Perceptions of cost

● Availability

● Visibility

● Confusion around labelling

● Talking about health

The organisation held a beer summit for breweries to share their “pain points”, which included consumers’ perceptions about the quality and cost as well as issues purchasing from suppliers.

Pubs and breweries should communicate the health benefits of low-and-no products to those who would avoid the pub when moderating their alcohol intake, the report recommended. 

Club Soda cited research that suggested that low-and-no alcohol beer can reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce the risk of colds and other respiratory illnesses, and will rehydrate drinkers.

Low-and-no beer could also appeal to women drinkers who avoid beer owing to its calorie content, the report suggested.

Pubs should make sure staff can answer common questions about alcohol-free beer, including the sugar and calorie content as well as ABV. 

Breweries should also make health benefits clear through labelling and conversations with stockists. 

Club Soda co-founder Laura Willoughby said British pubs’ continental counterparts are already stocking broad ranges of alcohol-free beer and effectively communicating their benefits to customers.

Lessons to learn

She said: “It is clear the industry has a lot to learn from Spain and Germany, who worked with interested groups from drivers to mums-to-be to ensure there was a consistent message about the benefits of having an alcohol-free beer on tap in every venue. 

Calorie contents

115 calories in a 500ml bottle of Adnam’s “Ghost Ship Alcohol-Free” (0.5% ABV) in comparison to 225 calories in a 500ml bottle of standard Adnam’s Ghost Ship (4.5% ABV).

69 calories in a 330ml bottle of Heineken 0.0 (0% ABV) in comparison to 139 calories in a 330ml bottle of standard Heineken (5% ABV). 

73 calories in a 330ml bottle of Carlsberg 0.0 (0% ABV) in comparison to 122 calories in 330ml bottle of Carlsberg (3.8% ABV).

“With more Brits keen to drink less this year than ever it is integral for pubs to ensure these drinkers still come out to the pub, especially when they are taking drink-free days,” Willoughby added.

She explained: “With 8.6m drinkers looking to cut down their drinking this year, we can’t afford for them to stay at home on their days off.

“Having a good range of low-and-no alcohol beers is a great way to keep consumers happy and spending, whether it is opting for a quick lunch or catching up with friends the night before a gym session. 

“Customers are demanding choice, so you need to get in low-and-no alcohol brands that suit your venue and meet consumer needs. After all, it is just another dietary preference.”

“It is counter to everything you have learnt in hospitality, but for this new emerging sector we need to begin to talk about health benefits as part of informing and serving customers better.”

The report was funded by the Worshipful Company of Brewers via a grant from the Brewers’ Research and Education Fund and can be found on the Club Soda website.​ 

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