Are We Seeing Non-Alcoholic Drinks Differently?

Shutterstock / DavideAngelini © friends drinking mojitos in a bar

It’s fair to say folk in the UK enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two from time to time.

From lagers to frozen cocktails, the alcoholic drink industry continues to concoct a variety of drinks for us to try.

However, the rise of the non-alcoholic drinks industry has changed the face of the market.

The sale of non-alcoholic beer grew by 58% between 2019 and 2020. As for alcohol, Beck’s reported a year-on-year decline in sales by 26% in 2019, along with Carlsberg Pilsner declining by 11%.

So why is the UK opting for a soft drink over a sore head?

Beers and gins – minus the beer and gin

Alcoholic… or not? Pic: Dziana Hasanbekava/ Pexels

The alcoholic drinks market is booming with a variety of different beers and gins. Brands such as Bombay Sapphire, Gordon’s, and Beefeater now offer a variety of flavours, including elderflower, blood orange, rhubarb and ginger.

However, with reports highlighting a decline in alcoholic drinks sales, some brands have started to offer NOLO (no to low alcohol) alternatives.

Three Spirit, Seedlip Spice, and Amplify Distilled Alcohol-Free Spirit are changing the gin market. They offer a tasty alternative to those who enjoy the sociable aspect of going for drinks with friends but not the hangover the next day.

As for the sale of beers and lagers, some of the market’s most popular brands have introduced an alcohol-free line.

Beck’s, for example, released Beck’s Blue, an alcoholic-free lager that is fat-free and just 53 calories per 275ml bottle. In more recent years, Heineken jumped on board the alcohol-free lager trend and launched Heineken 0.0 in 2017.

Those who regularly opt for the alcohol-free option will know these drinks taste almost identical to their alcoholic alternatives. So, why not give them a go?

Why is the alcohol-free market growing?

Mocktails are growing in popularity. Pic: Akos Adorjan/ Pexels

The UK is becoming a lot more health-conscious, a 2020 report finds. This is reflected through the rise of vegan diets. Other than the rise in ethical consumerism, reports find that one of the main reasons people are opting for a vegan diet is to ‘lead a healthier lifestyle’.

There is also a correlation between the rise of the alcohol-free market and the rapid growth of the health and wellness industry. Global Wellness Institute reports the wellness industry is worth a staggering £2.8 trillion worldwide. GlobalData predicts that by 2022, people will spend on average £487 a year on health and wellness products.

So it comes as no surprise that the UK’s perceptions of alcohol-free drinks are changing. Furthermore, the biggest dry January on record was reported in 2021, with 6.5 million people taking part in the UK.

The boom of kombucha

Pic: Shutterstock

The rise of kombucha is causing waves through the drinks industry. Kombucha is a green or black tea drink that has strains of healthy bacteria added and is then left in room temperature conditions to ferment for several weeks. It is the fermentation process that is responsible for breaking down sugars into CO2 and alcohol.

However, commercial kombucha teas contain less than 0.5% alcohol, therefore it is considered to be a low-to-no alcohol drink.

The kombucha market is predicted to grow by 20.64% between 2019 and 2027.

Kombucha has many health benefits attached. Its high levels of probiotics are linked to improvements in digestion, reduced depression and anxiety, and weight loss. Furthermore, test-tube studies suggest a link between the antioxidants found in kombucha tea and reducing the growth and spread of multiple types of cancer.

The return of the slushie

Pic: iStockphoto

The global slush machine market is predicted to reach a value of $391.3 million by 2026. Typically, we associate slushies with going to the local shop as a child and pondering over which slush machine syrup we want. Nowadays, the industry offers much more. Some brands have even expanded their range to offer alcoholic-slush options.

Frozen cocktails present our favourite tipples, including Strawberry Daiquiri, Mojito and Blue Lagoon, in the form of slushies.

These chilled drinks can easily be made alcohol-free, so they are the perfect NOLO beverage choice.

With trends predicting this industry to rise worldwide, perhaps NOLO slushies will be the next thing to compete with the alcoholic drinks market.

Going for a catch-up drink with friends often leaves us feeling hungover next day. So why not see what unexpected delights the non-alcoholic drinks menu has to offer?

Try these recipes for non-alcoholic Pineapple Spritz or some wintry mocktails!