Low & no alcohol beer sales continue to grow

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Sales of low and no alcohol beer in pubs 2024

Related tags The Low & No Project LowNoProject Beer Report

While the low and no-alcohol beer category takes up a smaller percentage of the on-trade market, it is the fastest growing sector in both volume and value sales.

As of 2023, the low and no-alcohol beer category had a value of £109m – this was up more than a third (39%) from 2022 and a huge 95.3% against pre-Covid levels, according to data from CGA by NIQ, which featured in The Morning Advertiser​’s Beer Report 2024​.

It was a similar story with beer volume as the low and no segment saw sales of 112,639 hectolitres (HL) – this was an uplift of over three quarters (77.7%) compared to pre-Covid and a 30.5% rise from 2022 volumes.

CGA by NIQ Chris Sterling said: “General moderation trends are really driving that category. There’s a lot more choice now within it – it’s not just one or two brands, numerous brewers have released NPD in the past two or three years and the quality overall, is better.”

Moderated drinking

He added: “The cost of living probably comes into it as well. People are looking to not just moderate from a health perspective but it’s a bit lighter on the wallet generally.

“It also lets them get on with their day if they’re nipping out for a quick drink after work or whatever.

“It has less impact than having a full-strength beer so there’s a lot of buzz in the category on social media and big profile sponsorships as well.”

The Society of Independent Brewers & Associates (SIBA) head of comms Neil Walker outlined how a change in legislation has also impacted the category.

Beer body

He said: “Low and no-alcohol beers were growing massively pre-Covid. It’s split into two segments: the 0% to 0.5% ABV, which is alcohol-free and then 0.5% to what was 2.8% ABV but now that can go up to 3.4% because the Government has changed the duty border essentially.

According to Walker, small and independent breweries are innovating to produce lower strength beer to get into that 3.4% bracket.

“Some of our members are producing lager styles such as light lager, which are big in the US and are often made using corn or rice as opposed to malt.

“They taste lighter and quite often are lower ABV as well at about 3.5%. Light refers to a lightness of body and flavour – they’re meant to be really easy to drink, really refreshing and a great summer beer.

“Quite often they will be lower in calories and certainly lower ABV but that’s not really the aim. It’s about the body of the beer.”

  • We have an ongoing survey​ that is gauging opinions and finding out what’s going on at pubs and bars when it comes to the low & no drinks market so make sure you click on the blue link to fill in your answers.

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