Around 32% of consumers surveyed said they’d consumed an alcohol-free beer in the last 12-month period, leaping up from 15% in 2020, according to the 2022 Australian Craft Beer Survey, published by online craft beer retailer Beer Cartel this month.
Meanwhile, 10% said they drunk alcohol-free beer on a weekly basis; up from 3% in 2020.
Availability of good quality brews grows
Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel said the growth of alcohol-free beer was something that the business had been witnessing firsthand.
“In 2020 we began to see real growth in alcohol-free beer purchases,” he said. “It was driven by an increase in the availability of good quality, tasty, zero alcohol beer, alongside a shift to more mindful alcohol consumption.
“We noticed it really began to accelerate when Heaps Normal hit the market and from there it has only grown further as more brands and breweries started producing a quality alcohol-free offer.
“You can even see the embrace of alcohol-free beer in the GABS Hottest 100 beer results where Heaps Normal has polled in the top 40 Australian craft beers for the past two years. Our expectation is that the alcohol-free beer category is very much here to stay and is likely to grow further, albeit at a slower rate.”
Andy Miller, CEO of Canberra alcohol-free beer company Heaps Normal, added: “I think what beer drinkers in this survey are telling us is that the alcohol content is no longer the determining factor in having a beer.
“We know that normalising non-alcs as an option for beer drinkers has created new drinking occasions. But what this data illustrates is that we're also seeing a bit of a shift in the very meaning of 'having a drink' — and that, to me, is the most exciting evolution.
“We reckon the story behind the data showing a rise in popularity of non-alc drinks is that a broader spectrum of people are coming together to enjoy a beer while feeling comfortable about making a choice that feels right to them.”
Online purchases increase
The Australian Craft Beer Survey surveyed craft beer consumers between July and September 2022: containing a range of questions relating to purchasing and consumption habits and attitudes to craft beer.
Online purchasing of craft beer remains high. 57% of respondents had purchased beer online in the last 12 months, up from 40% in 2019. Brewery websites are the most used purchasing channel: followed by specialty beer websites and mainstream liquor sites.
Hazy / New England IPA's have increased significantly in the proportion consuming it (78%), however, Pale Ale remains the most widely consumed style (82%).
Weekly spending on beer remains largely in line with previous years: with an average weekly spend of $31 on alcohol among these craft consumers.
The full survey results can be found here.