What's Driving the Low to No Alcohol Beverage Business?

  • 22nd Sep'21
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Decades ago, Robin Williams said something remarkable in his standup called Weapons of Self Destruction. The saying was, "As an alcoholic, you will violate your standards quicker than you can lower them!" While we loved the depth in the comedy, many of us experience the influence alcohol has on our lives. Earlier hard drinks made people look strong; it gave a rugged vibe to their personalities (at least many thought so!). But today, people have started thinking objectively. They want to understand the benefits of everything they consume, even in their cheating days of diets.

In addition to the health and wellness concern of the consumers, what's driving the low to no alcohol beverage business is the demand for variety. Innovation, cultural merging, and different brewing methods have brought new products, giving the buyers innumerable options. Fruit-flavored drinks to lowest-carb drinks, people hope to see more development in the low to no segment. Countries have already resorted to this category of beverages and IWSR, the market research firm confirms that by 2024, about 31% growth will be seen in the markets. Some of these countries are:- Australia, Canada, France, South Africa, UK, and the US, among others. Together they contribute about 75% to the low to no alcohol segment.




The Motivation Behind


There are many alternatives to alcohol in the market. With more than 38 different varieties of low alcohol beer to mocktails, consumers have a handful of options at their disposal to think about alternatives. The future of the NOLO(no or low alcohol) market looks bright with the savory element infusion in the drinks to help people move away from sweetness. The factors of aroma and after taste also drives the segment considerably.


The Pandemic Effect

Spending more time at home made people reflect on their lifestyles. Many changes were seen in this period. Some adapted to creative ways of balancing work and family; others promised to maintain mental health and lead a healthy life by cutting off carbs and alcohol. People did not feel good about drinking alcohol at home all the time, and some even thought of NOLO alternatives.



Brewers like Anheuser-Busch have successfully started fruit-flavored non-alcoholic Hoegaarden in the US. Adding to that, Coors Edge, the lowest calorie drink by Molson Coor, is doing wonders at the market. Bacardi's Martini has also touched the markets in 2020 with a new dimension to its wine with zero percent alcohol. These products are, to name a few, among a horde of other similar innovations. To match the taste, companies are investing in the R&D. Some brands have recently revealed how adding vinegar and spices replicates the alcohol taste of the NOLO drinks.


NOLO varieties


Dark Past of Alcohol

Over-consumption of alcohol has spread many problems, including health issues and mental abuse due to intoxication. Many examples of the past show us that people get too addicted to the drink and may become aggressive and socially distant because of behavioral issues. Research also states that parents may lead the next generations to this addiction through the genetic component.


The Placebo Factor

Millennials mostly convince themselves that they get a kick once they consume alcohol. As we move on to the alternatives, we still get complaints of the placebo effect from them. People experience the feeling of intoxication even with no or low alcohol drinks. There is a need to avoid alcohol addiction altogether not to get dragged by that perception. Resorting to alcohol-free drinks will help only then.


Safe Driving and Responsible Action

Low or no alcohol drinks have no harmful effect on the body and hence are safer to intake for drivers who like drinking. They do not dehydrate to a great extent, unlike alcohol, and also, the thirst after drink compels you to maintain the water level in your body.

Being aware of your surroundings is the most responsible action for drinkers. No or low alcohol drinks ensure you stay sober and have fun at parties without feeling embarrassed about losing control.


Health Benefits

Just as tea isn't great for the body except for a few like naturally sweet rooibos tea, similarly low alcohol drinks aren't bad enough. Studies show that a low intake of alcohol improves cardiovascular health. However, it is not a reason to start drinking. A low amount of alcohol does not alter the metabolism of the body, nor does it dehydrate. These factors, along with the lesser calorie intake, contribute to the NOLO beverage's health benefits.


Shaping the Category 

Many brands offer fabulous products in the market, resulting in the category getting its recognition and shape. There is increased investment in this sector as the future looks promising. Here are some of the famous brands with their efforts in bringing super cool substitutes for alcoholic drinks.


Lazer Crush, Beavertown, London

Lazer Crush contains about 83 calories per 330 ml. The alcohol is removed from the beer through a cold filtration method. Diageo had started the Guinness stout zero percent alcohol drink, but it pulled off the product from the market over microbial contamination issues.


CleanCo by Spencer Mathews

CleanCo received a $2m fund from the US government last year after its launch. The revolutionary idea brought it the funding it needed.


Whisp by Harriet Cuming

Whisp is British sparkling water that targets the health-conscious group. It only has 4% alcohol and comes with cucumber, mint, raspberry, and elderflower variants. It contains milk thistle that helps tackle inflammation. It has no added sugar and is gluten-free. A much-needed to alter drink!


sparkling water and spirit


Fungtn, UK's Medicinal Mushroom Beer

It is a Citra beer brewed with Reishi mushrooms and a lager with Chaga mushrooms. It helps bodies adapt to stress, also supporting the immune system.




Non-Alcoholic Spirits

Gordon's alcohol-free spirits use the same composition as its London Dry Gin, a famous distilled drink. An excellent alcohol substitute with a fantastic taste!


alcohol free spirits


Lifestyle and Market Obligation

The demands of the consumers obligate the market, and products that are useful takeover. People's art of self-discipline and lifestyle changes have brought in varieties in the beverage sector. While innovation brings substitutes that are excellent sources of energy, the brands also look at the sustainability of product use. The light products guarantee good health of the target audience, and market growth spills the opportunities for a viable future of the NOLO drinks. So, what do you think, is driving the low to no alcoholic beverages, and how is it helping people live with a positive mindset?


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*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

About the author:

Supriti Tripathy, OpenGrowth Content Team

A believer of good things and pursuer of diverse avocation, she is a fiction lover and a simple writer. Supriti has a number of professions to her list and she feels challenges are the only answers to failures.

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