Non-alcoholic beer ‘soars’ as sales of low-alcohol beer increase by 1116%

New research into the beer buying habits of New Zealanders shows a huge increase in the popularity of low-alcohol, non-alcoholic beer.

Photo: Unsplash / Josh Olalde

Sales of low-alcohol beer have grown 1116% over the past five years, as the days of limited choice are over.

The increase is detailed in a study released today by the Brewers Association of New Zealand industry group.

He found that a sharp increase in sales of non-alcoholic beers was behind the jump, along with an increase in products and brands.

Low-alcohol, non-alcoholic beers still only make up a small percentage of the market – non-alcoholic products account for 2 percent of supermarket sales.

But their rise is a prominent figure in the research conducted by the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research.

Palmerston North’s Brew Union bar owner Murray Cleghorn said the rise in popularity of low-alcohol beer was a recent development.

“We run a low-alcohol beer on one of our 21 taps and it runs really well.

“Maybe three or four years ago, Kiwis branded low carbs or alcohol, [and] alcohol-free products, and that stigma is gone, I think. “

Other factors also played a role, including lower limits for drink driving and a cultural shift towards intolerance of driving above the limit.

“It’s not common to hear people say that they drink low-alcohol beer because they don’t want alcohol.

“It’s usually for a purpose. It’s usually because they have to be moderate and have to drive home, which is great.”

Wellington’s craft brewer, Garage Project, developed a low-alcohol IPA called Fugazi in 2016, which has proven to be popular.

And, said co-founder Jos Ruffell, he couldn’t meet the demand for an alcohol-free hazy IPA called Tiny, released in November.

“The response to that has been overwhelming… He flies towards the door.

“It just seems to be hitting the right note right now. It’s full of flavor. It’s very aromatic. It’s a beer you can have and you don’t feel like you’re running out at all.”

New Zealand reflected the global shift towards low-alcohol, non-alcoholic beers, Ruffell said.

“I just think it’s a progression of the trend, quality over quantity, people being more aware of their consumption, maybe even the lifestyles people are leading when they come out of lockdown.

“Having a non-alcoholic beer really suits them. “

Brewers Association executive director Dylan Firth said low-alcohol beers have come a long way in a short period of time.

There had also been strong growth in low-carb beers, which made up 8 percent of the beer market.

Sales of these products have increased 33 percent in the past year.

“I think that’s one of those things that happened quite quickly. The New Zealand brewing industry can be quite nimble and see the trends and get close to them.

“Beer is one of those products that you can make in a relatively short time compared to wine, for example. “

Firth said the beer industry was worth around $ 2.8 billion in 2021 and supported more than 6,500 jobs.

And although New Zealanders drank less beer than in the past, spending remained stable, suggesting they are looking for quality, not quantity.

The association represents the heavyweights of the Lion and DB industry.

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