Alcohol-free gains traction on social media

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/violetestoimenova
Pic:getty/violetestoimenova

Related tags: NABLAB, alcohol-free, non-alcoholic, non-alcoholic beer

Social media discussion around alcohol free drinks is up significantly year-on-year, according to new research: with beer and mocktails among the most popular subjects.

Based on a sample of 120,000 social media posts, Brandwatch Intelligence social data research, undertaken by social media independent agency, Immediate Future, found that non-alcoholic drinks mentions are up 12% annually (this includes an 11% increase in unique mentions). And analysis reveals the public’s interest in exploring new ideas for sober consumption.

There are two key takeaways from this increase, says Brandwatch Intelligence: and both are good news for the category. Firstly, it shows the public is moving the alcohol-free drinks agenda on – and brands can take their lead from consumers here as well as influencing the discussion. Secondly, it creates the perfect scenario for today’s drinks to take an early lead in establishing branding and building profitable relationships.

A barometer of consumer sentiment

The top three trending topics relating to alcohol free drinks are making mocktails, non-alcoholic beer and alcohol-free beer (The latter two categories received separate counts due to the different descriptions by consumers).  

The most discussed types of alcohol-free drinks are beer and mocktails, and the two combined equate to twice as many mentions as all other types of non-alcoholic drinks. The next most discussed drinks are non-alcohol wine, gin and tonic, cider, cocktails, lager, Champagne, prosecco and rum.

The biggest growth in posts was for non-alcohol champagne (+135%), gin and tonic (+66%) rum (+42%) cider (+20%), wine (+19%) lager (+18%) and mocktails (+7%).

Beer is by far the most popular alcohol-free variety in terms of mentions, with nearly 61% overall, but posts are down 6% year on year. Prosecco has been subject to no movement in the number of posts, and alcohol free cocktails are down 3%.

Men (58%) discuss alcohol free drinks far more on social media than women (42%). Non-alcoholic products were mostly discussed by men, and mentions grew faster among this group.

“Social media provides an accurate barometer of consumer sentiment, and identifies important changing trends towards alcohol free drinks. It reveals that while the relevance of beer and mocktails is sustained, there is curiosity to find out more about previously unexplored alternatives,”​ say the researchers.

“Online discussion identifies that there are potential sales opportunities in a wide variety of drinks categories not previously associated with alcohol free drinking, ranging from champagne and wine to gin, rum and cider. Consumers are interested to the degree of being motivated to talk about this with others, and this only happens when sentiment has either reached, or is close to intention to buy.”

However, alcohol-free drinks many not be the only beneficiary of the rise in social media action.  

“Most consumers opt for alcohol free as a way of improving health, not a permanent choice. It means alcoholic drink owners and retailers can capitalise on this by emphasising the qualities and enjoyment USPs of occasions when consumers do decide on alcohol-based choices. There is a lot of opportunity however you look at it.”

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