Non-Alcoholic Beer Sales Surge: 32% Growth Outpaces Traditional Alcohol

Impressive 32% Growth in Non-Alcoholic Beer Sales

Recent data reveals a remarkable 32% increase in non-alcoholic beer sales in the United States, surpassing the growth rate of traditional alcoholic beverages.

This surge can be attributed to the growing focus on health and wellness, with younger consumers showing a preference for zero-percent alcohol options.

Health and Wellness Concerns Drive the Trend

The surge in non-alcoholic beer sales is partly driven by mounting health and wellness concerns.

Younger drinkers, in particular, are more inclined to choose non-alcoholic beverages.

NielsenIQ’s data underscores this shift, showing that sales of alcoholic beers, seltzers, cider, and fermented drinks grew by a mere 3% in the year leading up to September 9th.

In contrast, the non-alcoholic beer market has seen an average annual growth of 31% over the past four years.

Key Players in the Alcohol-Free Beer Market

Well-known beer brands like Heineken, Budweiser, Corona, and Guinness have introduced their own alcohol-free versions in response to this growing trend.

Kaleigh Theriault, the managing director of beverage alcohol thought leadership at NielsenIQ, noted that these products provide consumers with the experience of being part of a social drinking occasion while abstaining from alcohol.

Younger Drinkers Shaping the Trend

The rise in non-alcoholic beer consumption is not primarily driven by teetotalers but by drinkers who occasionally choose to moderate their alcohol intake.

The data emphasizes that the trend has been influenced by young people who reached the legal drinking age during the pandemic, limiting their opportunities for alcohol experimentation.

Marketing Non-Alcoholic Beverages as Trendy

Major brewing brands have played a significant role in making non-alcoholic drinks more appealing. Heineken, for instance, launched its 0.0 beer in the US in 2019, with a focus on making non-alcoholic beer appear fashionable.

An advertising campaign titled ‘Now You Can’ showcased people enjoying the beverage in everyday situations, from driving to making work presentations.

Today, Heineken’s 0.0 is the top-selling non-alcoholic beer, capturing around 20% of the market.

Enhancing Taste and Manufacturing Processes

Brewing companies have improved their manufacturing methods to make non-alcoholic beers taste more like their alcoholic counterparts.

These beverages are produced through two main methods: halting the fermentation process before alcohol is produced or removing alcohol after fermentation.

Techniques differ among brewing giants. AB InBev executives revealed that approximately 60% of non-alcoholic beer sales represent new growth in the market rather than replacing existing sales.

US Lags Behind Europe in Non-Alcoholic Beer Sales

While non-alcoholic beer sales are on the rise in the US, the country still lags behind Europe in this regard.

In Western Europe, non-alcoholic beer accounts for 5.8% of total beer sales by volume, a significantly higher figure compared to the US, where it stands at 0.9%. However, it’s essential to note that overall alcohol sales are declining in the United States.

Data from Gallup consultancy shows a decrease in the number of Americans aged 18-34 who identify as drinkers, dropping from 72% a decade earlier to 62% between 2021 and 2023.