No and low alcohol options will be ‘vital’ to beer category growth: CGA

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/franckreporter
Pic:getty/franckreporter

Related tags: Beer, NABLAB

Lower alcohol beers are becoming more readily available to consumers in the US on-premise: and there’s still plenty of room for new entrants, according to GCA.

The no/low alcohol segment within beer was worth just under $100m in sales compared to $99m at the end of 2019 – demonstrating that the segment has recovered back to 100% of its pre-COVID-19 levels, according to CGA’s On Premise Measurement service.

The beer category is already well-known for a broad variety and range of options. While the trend used to be for craft beers to push the boundaries in terms of alcohol strength; it’s now lower alcohol alternatives that are resonating most with consumers.

CGA’s data, which tracks sales performance for bars and restaurants in the US, highlights that no/low is one of the fastest growing segments within beer, increasing by 96% in the latest 52 weeks.

“All evidence suggests that the no/low alcohol beer segment will continue to strengthen its position within the category as consumer demand for alcohol alternatives continues to grow.”

And what’s more, there remains plenty of opportunity for brands to enter the low/no alcohol space in beer. Those that succeed will be the ones that reproduce the taste of experience of beers that consumers already enjoy in the full-strength segment.

“Within the no/low alcohol beer segment, there are also substantial opportunities for new entrants to solidify a place as a major supplier. At the end of 2019, the top three brands within the segment accounted for a 60% share, and by the end of 2021 this had only grown to 70% - making the no/low alcohol beer segment significantly less competitive than other segments within the lower alcohol space.”

More and more beer drinkers are turning to lower alcohol options

Consumer engagement with lower alcohol beers has grown: with the percentage of beer drinkers consuming no/low alcohol beer increasing from 12% in Fall 2019 to 16% by Fall 2021.

Intriguingly, beer drinkers have also been experimenting with other no/low alcohol categories. The no/low spirits segment has seen engagement grow from 8% in Fall 2019 to 11% just two years later, while no/low wine saw consumer engagement increase from 8% to 13% in the same time period.

Beer drinkers have even increased their engagement with mocktails, from 8% in Fall 2019 to 13% in Fall 2021.

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