More and more UK drinkers have swapped their super strength lager for a low alcohol alternative this summer – with sales up over 77% at UK retailer Majestic in the sub 2% ABV category, compared to the previous year.
Without the lure of World Cup Football or wall to wall sunshine; bitter, ale and lager lovers have been opting to keep their wits about them and stay off the heavier stuff. The trend looks set to continue too, with a vast increase in the number of breweries offering better quality low alcohol alternatives.
Previously the preserve of the designated driver, low alcohol beers have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. Its success has been driven by a focus on engaging with a younger generation of more health-conscious drinkers – and it appears to be paying off. Nielsen Data recently reported in April that the category is now worth over £57m a year – or over 12.5m pints-worth.
Majestic, which has stocked a number of low and no alcohol beers for the last few years as part of its commitment to stocking local and national breweries, says it plans to extend its range further after sales rocketed over June, July and August.
“The picture has changed dramatically, even in the last year or two,” explains James Reed, Beer Buyer at Majestic.
“Low or no alcohol beers used to be at the back of the pub’s fridge, stowed away for the occasional teetotaller or driver. The Craft Beer movement has changed all that. It’s meant that for the majority of consumers who are increasingly conscious of their alcohol intake, there are some genuinely tasty and interesting drinks to explore. It’s a game changer.”
Alongside avoiding a hangover, other benefits can include lower calories. Small Beer, a low ABV lager brewed in South London for instance, boasts only 74 calories per 350ml – less than half the average strength alternative.