profile series: Innovators in low/no alcohol
My Drynuary: 'It’s inspiring to be part of an industry that’s always innovating'
BD: Tell us what interests you in the low/no category
Our purpose is to create a future with more cheers – and part of that is making our much-loved beer category more inclusive. Non-alc beers are a great way to offer consumers more choice and the ability to balance between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers – while still enjoying their favourite brands.
We have several non-alc versions of our beloved brands including Corona, Stella, Budweiser, Leffe and Becks. Our non-alc portfolio is unique in that it offers consumers their favourite beers, just without the alcohol. For example, you can enjoy an iconic Corona with a lime on the beach without having any alcohol – Corona Cero.
You're the Future Growth Director of Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, which is the UK/Ireland arm of the world's largest brewer, AB InBev. What does your job involve?
My main responsibility is to create and develop our portfolio of the future by ensuring our products address evolving consumer and customer needs. This includes everything from ultra-premium beers to ready-to-drink products. The main challenge is that it is impossible to predict the future. There is a lot of uncertainty in how consumer trends will evolve and as a result, a lot of testing and learning is needed to figure out what will and won’t work in the market.
How have you seen the low/no market evolve?
It’s been exciting to watch the category grow since joining AB InBev. The category overall is still relatively small – recent Nielsen data shows that the NABLAB category value occupies 2.6% of the beer and cider market, but was only at 0.8% in 2018.
For 2023, I’m particularly excited to see our Corona Cero brand continue to grow – as it became the 5th biggest NABLAB brand in volume in Q3 2022 [Nielsen Scantrack data].
What markets can we find your brews in?
As the world’s largest brewer, our brands are sold in more than 100 countries around the world and no/low beers are sold in several of these markets.
Corona Cero, for example, is currently available in 9 markets: UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Poland.
My remit covers the UK&I. In the UK, there is a clear interest in no-and-low alternatives. As the category continues to grow, we are seeing more and more beer-drinkers look to moderate their alcohol consumption without giving up beer entirely.
As the world’s leading brewer, we are proud to bring people together over their favorite beers, and want them to enjoy non-alcohol versions in a similar way – for a future with more cheers.
What does Drynuary look like for you?
Historically, we’ve seen that people buying traditional alcoholic beer are the main purchasers of non-alcoholic beer as well. January is a great time to build awareness of the choice consumers have in no/low options – however, it’s important to highlight this balance all year round.
Corona Cero has exciting activations coming up over the next few months to encourage groups of friends to enjoy non-alcoholic Corona Cero while socializing together – in the same way they’d enjoy alcoholic Corona Extra while socializing together.
And what should we look out for in the rest of 2023?
Our brands have lots of exciting activations coming up in 2023, and we are always looking at new trends to test new products to meet consumer needs, particularly in newer categories like NABLABs. Watch this space!
What inspires you on your low/no alcohol journey?
I’m inspired by all the start-ups that emerge in these exciting, growing categories.
What’s your favorite alcohol-free product and why?
I personally love Corona Cero because I think there’s such a strong association and affinity for the Corona brand – so to see this brand extend into the non-alc category is quite exciting. It also tastes delicious.