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Younger Generations Driving Gains For De-Alcoholized Wine, Spirits, And Beer

February 28, 2023

For the fifth consecutive January, de-alcoholized beverage volume increased this year during the month versus the prior January. The first month of 2023 marked another boost for the so-called Dry January phenomenon, with much of the buzz attributed to younger consumers, including Millennials and Gen Z drinkers. By comparison, total beverage alcohol volume fell once again in the month of January, as it did collectively in calendar year 2022, according to Impact Databank.

According to Drizly, the e-commerce alcohol delivery platform, there was a 56% increase in purchases across de-alcoholized beverage categories in January 2023 compared to January 2022, as consumers continue to embrace alcohol-free beer, wine, and spirits more than ever before. Non-alcoholic spirits experienced the largest growth on Drizly from a year ago, with a 129% increase in purchases in January 2023. Alcohol-free wine also had a significant jump from January 2022 to 2023, registering a 70% increase, while non-alcoholic beer grew a more modest 26%.

While bubbly continues to be the only major wine category to manage gains, de-alcoholized wines are the fastest-growing sector of the wine market, according to Impact Databank, albeit from a relatively small base. Well-known labels Sutter Home Fre and J. Lohr’s Ariel have been around for decades, but some of the more recent up-and-comers include New Zealand’s Giesen 0% from Pacific Highway Wines, which reached 50,000 9-liter cases last year, up from just 12,000 cases in 2021. And Riboli Family Wines is targeting 75,000 cases for its non-alcoholic Naturals Collection this year.

Brewers have also been busy in the space. Late last year, Canadian beer Labatt launched Labatt Blue Light Non-Alc Strawberry Acai. At less than 0.5% abv, the new release is clearly targeted at Millennials and of-age Gen Z’ers. And while big-name brands such as Heineken 0.0 and Budweiser Zero lead the sector, the fastest-growing non-alcoholic brew is the line of de-alcoholized beers from craft brewer Athletic Brewing Co., which more than doubled in both dollars and volume terms in NielsenIQ channels for the four-week period ending January 21.

Brewers have also gone further into the act by pivoting into the non-alc spirits space, which is dominated by Diageo’s Seedlip and Ritual Zero labels, as well as by Greenbar’s eponymous non-alcoholic RTDs. Last month, Molson Coors Beverage Co. launched Roxie, the brewer’s first zero-proof canned mocktail, which is sold exclusively online. Roxie is Molson Coors’ biggest foray into non-alc spirits, as it broadens its portfolio beyond beer and expands into new growth categories that are piquing interest among younger consumers.

The latest research from Nielsen IQ’s CGA Strategy also looked at whether drinkers who tried no- and low-alcohol beverages would continue drinking them once Dry January ended. Around two-thirds of consumers who tried mocktails said they would continue drinking them after the month had ended, while nearly three-quarters (72%) who drank non-alcoholic beer over the course of January said they would do so again in the on-premise post-January. This is good news for emerging brands in the non-alc space, but only time will tell if Dry January and the broader wellness movement can maintain its momentum into the future.

Dry January—Off-Premise Trends by Type
(Millions of dollars)
Month of January1 Percent
Category/Type 2020 2021 2022 2023 2022-2023
Total Beer $2,678 $3,070 $2,889 $3,116 7.9%
Non-Alcoholic Beer $13.5 $19.4 $23.1 $31.7 37.5%
Total Wine $1,240 $1,535 $1,446 $1,393 -3.7%
Non-Alcoholic Wine $1.9 $3.2 $4.3 $5.1 19.5%
Total Spirits $1,132 $1,440 $1,409 $1,424 1.1%
Non-Alcoholic Spirits $0.08 $0.30 $0.63 $1.12 76.8%
Total Alcohol3 $5,051 $6,045 $5,744 $5,933 3.3%
Total Non-Alcoholic $15.4 $22.9 $28.0 $38.0 35.6%
1 4 weeks ending 2/1/20, 1/30/21, 1/29/22 and 1/28/23 in NielsenIQ channels
2 Based on unrounded data
3 Addition of columns may not agree due to rounding
Sources: IRI, Nielsen IQ and IMPACT DATABANK © 2023
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