At the same time, beer and lager sales fell by almost 12% in the 12 weeks to August 7 compared to the same period last year, according to Kantar. Sparkling wine sales were down 9.9% and cider sales were down 9.4%.
In part, this will be facilitated by the easing of Covid restrictions. That means more people are returning to pubs and restaurants instead of drinking at home.
But even pub drinkers want more non-alcoholic or low-alcohol options, says Brewer Adnams chief Andy Wood.
“I don’t think it’s just young people.
Adnams, which also runs a string of pubs, makes its own low-alcohol ale, which Wood said has fueled recent sales. “This is our last run to Christmas, so we absolutely need that as well.”
But while Adnams is adapting, there are concerns about whether many companies are really ready to switch from alcohol. Many independent brewers still stick to alcohol options, and winemakers are reluctant to remove the alcohol and alter the taste of their wines.
Even calling de-alcoholic wine “wine” is a hotly debated topic in some regions. An Italian industry chief argues that non-alcoholic ‘wine’ “completely distorts the characteristics of a millennium-old product and constitutes a lack of transparency to consumers.”