According to the Irish Brewers Association (IBA), sales of low and non-alcoholic beer increased 60% to 30,000hl in Ireland in 2018.
Jonathan McDade of the IBA stated, "The key thing for brewers is maintaining the excellent taste that consumers are used to with quality beer products on the market. We have seen this in the Irish market, with Diageo introducing Pure Brew and Heineken introducing Heineken 0.0 and Heineken Light, all of which consumers have responded positively to.
"These alternatives have proven useful to consumers who may be up early the next day for work, who may be training in the gym or watching their weight or, indeed now, in the hot and humid conditions, just trying to cut down on alcohol consumption."
UK And Europe
McDade continued, "In the UK, sales of low and alcohol-free beers jumped 28% in the year to February 2019, compared with the previous 12 months. Many independent brewers are focusing on only producing low and non-alcoholic beers.
"We may see more independent and craft producers introducing these low and non-alcoholic beers here, or indeed focusing their business solely on this offering, as we have seen in the UK.
"In Spain, non-alcoholic beer has become popular, accounting for around 12% of the overall beer market, which is very significant, driven by the country's after work beer and tapas culture.
“Elsewhere, we also see this trend materialising throughout other countries across Europe, leading to a significant increase in the sale of non-alcoholic beers, including a 33% sales increase in the Netherlands and an 80% sales increase in Poland in 2018."
A Continuing Trend
McDade concluded, "This year, it is anticipated that low and non-alcoholic beers will become increasingly popular again as this trend continues through 2019."
© 2019 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.