Sales of low and non-alcoholic drinks were up 18% (£4.8m) over the first quarter of 2020. With this rise in demand, more and more ranges are being introduced. As a growing number of people choose to drink ‘less and better’, the universe of low- and no-alcohol beverages is rapidly expanding and new tasty formats are being launched all the time. Here will give you a low down on the opportunity and why now is the time to take the low and no alcohol trend seriously...
Alcohol Free Craft Drinks | All Natural & Low Calorie | Perfect for Father's Day
As part of a new feature, we're catching up with one of our innovative brand partners to give you invaluable insights direct from their category. This week we caught up with Paul @ Drynks Unlimited to discover how scouring the world of low and no alcohol
So who are Drynks Unlimited?
Drynks Unlimited is an innovative British drinks business focused 100% on producing the best 0% drinks, to tap in to the burgeoning low and no alcohol market. Using modern craftsmanship to gently remove alcohol from premium craft beer and cider to create genuine alcohol free drinks that are truly session-able. This range of 0% Smashed beers and ciders feel, smell and taste like the original full-strength craft drink but with the alcohol knocked on the head. 'Smashed drynk' cans are available in Smashed Cider, Smashed Citrus, Smashed Lager.
How do your drinks present an opportunity for retailers?
Low or no alcohol had always been the poor relation to its alcoholic cousins, and very limited, uninspiring choices and poor quality, did nothing to improve this perception. However, as more and more people are looking to improve their health & well being, reducing their alcohol consumption is one of the major considerations for this lifestyle change. This has led to a significant increase, and demand for great tasting alternatives to alcohol.
What consumers want, in terms of taste and refreshment, is something similar, something that they know. Something that they want to be associated with. Maybe when they're socialising, they want to have something that's familiar to the people that are drinking with them.
Producing great tasting 0% beer or cider isn’t easy, and whilst improved options came onto the market, the holy grail of beer that actually tastes as good as beer, just without the alcohol, was still missing.
In 2017 Richard Clark, who has over 30 years in the drinks industry, started investigating how he could solve this problem. The easy solution would have been to use the historic methods used for decades, but these methods were never going to deliver something significantly better, and creating something significantly better was at the very heart of what Richard wanted to produce for people.
"REDUCING THEIR ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IS ONE OF THE MAJOR CONSIDERATIONS"
As a result, he spent 18 months investigating innovative new methods and technology that could help him achieve the holy grail of alcohol beer and cider that delivered on taste and experience. From this he created his company Drynks Unlimited, a company whose sole purpose was to produce great tasting alcohol-free drinks.
In 2019, following Richard’s extensive research, Drynks Unlimited brought the very first cool vacuum distillation de-alcoholising plant to the UK. This state-of-the-art technology gently removes the alcohol from great tasting, fully alcoholic beer and cider. This market-leading technology enables Drynks to create a range of great tasting 0% drinks called Smashed, that deliver the holy grail of great tasting beer and cider, just without the alcohol!
What current and future trends do you meet?
Nearly half (49%) of Brits have reduced the amount of alcohol they drink in the last 12 months, and nearly one third of all 18-24 year olds now don’t drink at all. Importantly this younger generation still like to socialise, they just do it in a different way from older generations, and so alcohol-free allows them to be social and still enjoy a drink with friends.
An article in The Guardian in April 2020 stated that over 14m people in the UK were looking to reduce their alcohol consumption, and so being able to provide a great tasting solution for people so that they can still enjoy a beer or cider whilst reducing their alcohol consumption is a great compromise.
Low and no is here to stay, and the global market is due to be worth $25bn by 2024. So the global consumer demand is there, and as more and more consumers realise they can have great tasting drinks without the alcohol, the trend will continue to grow and grow.
"CONSUMERS WILL INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE DEMANDING FOR CHOICE OF LOW AND NO ALCOHOL DRINKS"
Recent research by the University of Bristol and published by BMC Public Health demonstrated that people are more likely to choose a non-alcoholic option if there is a greater selection on offer. So, the more choice there is available the more likely a consumer will shop the category than go elsewhere. Consumers will increasingly become more demanding for choice of low and no alcohol drinks so offering a range now, will ensure sales are not a lost opportunity.
Who will buy Smashed Drynks?
Just under 47% of people are likely to buy alcohol free drinks from their supermarket, whereas just 11% are likely to buy it from a local, licensed convenience store. As a result it’s clear that the lack of range in a convenience store is impacting sales and driving those sales to supermarkets, so there is a clear opportunity for convenience stores to do something better and get a better share of this category.
"The key thing for convenience retailers is to demonstrate a degree of range and choice"
We know that space is at a premium in convenience stores, but the positive opportunity with alcohol free is that there is no typical end consumer, so if you increase your range you are not appealing to a smaller group of consumers. The younger generation have definitely helped to drive the trend and embraced more alcohol free alternatives quicker, but people across all generations are cutting down, for a host or reasons. The emergence of new, better tasting alternatives has given people more choice, and as it’s a lifestyle choice for a lot of people they are willing to search out retailers who help them achieve these lifestyle goals.
The key thing for convenience retailers is to demonstrate a degree of range and choice. Just a couple of token brands is not going to inspire consumers. If someone is traditionally a Pale Ale drinker they are unlikely to buy an alcohol free lager, so it’s important that this is treated like a proper category, rather than being an afterthought of a category.
Grocery retailers have embraced this category, and a number of online specialists have also appeared in this space, and the low and no community have chosen this additional choice. So whilst they have the luxury of being able to stock more of a range there is still a big gap, and therefore a big opportunity in convenience. If a customer knows you stock a good range, and importantly something different they can't often get anywhere else, then a savvy retailer will have the opportunity to get that customer in store.
Why it will work for independents
Our Smashed brand is about offering choice for the significant and increasing number of people who are drinking less and as a perfect gift for Fathers Day - 21st June. As a brand in its own right, rather than being a low an no alcohol poor relation of a big alcoholic brand, Smashed will appeal to all.
One of the other challenges for no and low alcohol, has been a lack of credible options for drinking occasions. Smashed is a vibrant, standout brand. We are proudly alcohol free and can act as the beacon on the shelf to show that all important range of no and low brands. For example, if you are a Lager drinker, but you don’t like Big Brand X and you only stock Big Brand X 0% what can you buy? As a specialist alcohol free brand our Smashed Lager, known for quality, will appeal to all consumers.
As experts in wholesome snacks, the team at Epicurium have compiled an easy to follow guide to the best healthy snacks for retailers - from sure fire hits to some of the freshest new brands on the market. Take a look at some of the new products you could be stocking to capture a greater share of the snacking audience. With a quick turnaround of 24-48 hours, no minimum order number and free delivery on any order over £80, our team here at Epicurium can have you tapping into freshest healthy snack and crisp alternatives in no time.