News, Culture & Society

Low and no alcohol beer sales at record levels in Briton

  • Sales of low an non-alcoholic brews increased by 17 per cent over 12 months
  • That came as sales of high percentage beers dropped by 11 per cent 
  • Drinkers are increasingly seeking out ‘moderation products’, experts say 

Sales of low and no alcohol beers have soared to a record high, according to new industry figures.

But it has come at the expense of super strength lagers which have sunk by nearly £9 million in the past year.

Britain’s drinkers are getting a taste for a drop of the soft stuff with sales of low and non-alcoholic brews up by 20 per cent in value and 17 per cent in volume to 18.2 million litres over the 12 months to mid-July.

Britons are drinking more low and alcohol free beer than ever before as craft breweries and ale-makers branch out into the tipples

The £34.7 million spent on these ales and lagers in the off-trade still only represents a tiny 0.9 per cent of the overall beer market for shops and supermarkets but it does show the tide is turning.

Health authorities and the industry itself have led campaigns to encourage drinking in moderation and recent figures have shown one in five adults now claim to be teetotal and not just in ‘Dry January’.

But the products themselves have undergone a revolution with far more varieties of non-alcohol and low alcohol beers available including many from craft beer brands to satisfy the tastes of ale aficionados.

This includes zero per cent Nanny State ale from ‘punk’ brewer Brewdog with sales of £2 million in the last year and Heineken’s ‘O.O’ launched in March but already notching up sales of £1.1 million.

At the same time sales of very high alcohol beers have fallen dramatically as analysts say people are seeking out 'moderation' products

At the same time sales of very high alcohol beers have fallen dramatically as analysts say people are seeking out ‘moderation’ products

While these are increasingly popular, sales of super strength lagers, those above 7.5 per cent ABV – have fallen by 11 per cent, or £8.9 million – to £68 million in the same period with volumes down 12 per cent.

The figures were compiled by industry analysts Nielsen for trade journal The Grocer.

Nielsen analyst, Richard Harrison, said: ‘It’s a positive step for the brewing industry and the government and councils who have sought to discourage the sale of high-strength lagers.’

The Grocer added: ‘Despite low and non-alcoholic beers accounting for just 0.9 per cent of total beer sales, the balance has tipped in favour of moderation products.’