More Britons choose to drink alcohol-free beer

Beck's Blue bottle

More Britons are turning to drinking alcohol-free beer, with many set to choose it in January, according to new research from AB InBev UK.

Nearly a third of people (32%) have now tried alcohol-free beer, with one in 10 women (10%) enjoying it on a weekly basis.

The survey also found that people in London are the most inclined to drink alcohol-free beer over any other UK city, with the research revealing that 18% of Londoners drink it whenever they go out.

The publication of the research, carried out by Opinium among 2,003 adults in Great Britain, coincides with the launch of AB InBev’s new set of Global Smart Drinking Goals that aim to “empower consumers to make smart drinking choices” and reduce the harmful use of alcohol by the end of 2025.

AB InBev, whose global brands include Stella Artois and Budweiser, has committed to ensuring that at least 20% of its global beer volume will be alcohol-free or lower-alcohol by 2020.

The low- and alcohol-free beer category is growing by 5% in the UK on-trade. AB InBev’s Beck’s Blue, the market leader, contributes to 58% of the category and is increasing 10% year on year in the on-trade and 15% in retail, based on CGA Strategy data.

According to research carried out by ComRes for AB InBev UK, 34% of people will be looking to consume alcohol-free beer in January – an increase of 16% from 2014.

Over a fifth of millennials (21%) – those aged 18 to 34 – are likely to choose alcohol-free beer in January, an increase of 10% on 2014.

It supports a growing trend among millennials who are increasingly motivated by balanced and healthy lifestyles, with research by Kantar Worldpanel Alcovision showing that 41% of people aged 18 and 19 are actively trying to moderate their drinking habits.

According to the new AB InBev UK research, almost a fifth of UK consumers (19%) are unable to taste the difference between alcohol and alcohol-free beer.

Daytime occasions and weekday evenings are key occasions for alcohol-free beer consumption. The most common reason to choose alcohol-free beer is being the designated driver (29%) or not wanting to drink too much and feel unwell the next day (20%).

Anna Tolley, legal and corporate affairs director at AB InBev UK & Ireland, said: “It’s great to see the growing popularity of alcohol-free beer among the UK public – especially millennials. Offering consumers choice is an important part of our commitment to responsible drinking and we are proud to brew Beck’s Blue, the market leading alcohol-free beer.”

Lower-alcohol refers to a beverage with no more than 1.2% ABV. Alcohol-free products contain no more than 0.05% ABV.

Previous New research reveals hospitality workers' biggest fears
Next London's heritage inspires new cocktail menu at Savoy's American Bar