Rabobank Liquid Assets Podcast

Can non-alcoholic beer take off in the US? Brooklyn Brewery is betting on it

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Special Effects (0.4% ABV) debuted in Sweden in December 2018 before rolling out across the UK and Europe. Now, it's hitting the US. Pic: We Are You NY Photography
Special Effects (0.4% ABV) debuted in Sweden in December 2018 before rolling out across the UK and Europe. Now, it's hitting the US. Pic: We Are You NY Photography

Related tags: NABLAB, Beer

Brooklyn Brewery has just launched its first non-alcoholic beer in the US, called Special Effects, after its resounding success in Europe. While non-alcoholic beer may often be seen as an alternative to traditional beer, Brooklyn CEO Eric Ottaway believes Special Effects offers incremental sales, bringing “more places, more occasions, and more people” into the beer category.
eric ottaway brooklyn brewery
Eric Ottaway

According to Brooklyn Brewery CEO Eric Ottaway - speaking in this guest podcast from Rabobank Liquid Assets - non-alcoholic beer is not about less, it's about more. The non-alcoholic segment opens more places, more occasions and more people to the struggling beer industry.

Brooklyn Brewery, which works closely Kirin and Carlsberg, originally launched its non-alcoholic beer brand, Special Effects, in Europe. The brand now represents more than 5% of their European sales, far outstripping the companies' most optimistic expectations.

Now, the upstart craft brewer is trying to bring their innovative approach to the US market, where non-alcoholic beer has a long history of underwhelming results. 

In this Rabobank Liquid Assets podcast, Eric sits down with the RaboResearch team to discuss his company’s push into the category and whether non-alcoholic beer can gain a meaningful foothold with US consumers. 

Up for discussion on this podcast:

“A regular - who comes in on Sunday to watch the game and used to have one pint of Guinness - had four pints of Special Effects and then a pint of Guiness.” ​Eric Ottaway

1. Who is the non-alcoholic beer consumer?
2. How do you build a non-alcoholic brand in the US and Europe?
3. Why non-alcoholic beer helps, instead of hurts the beer category?
4. How big will the non-alcoholic beer segment be in 5 years?

This podcast features Eric Ottaway, CEO of Brooklyn Brewery; ​Rabobank’s global beverage strategist Stephen Rannekleiv, senior analysts Jim Watson and Francois Sonneville and analyst Bourcard Nesin.

This podcast was published on November 6. Picture credits: We Are You NY Photography. 

Related topics: Markets, Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cider, Beer

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