Soft drinks on the rise

It’s June. Your opportunity to start the famous “Dry January” challenge has long passed. But the option to sip alcohol-free libations has become permanent. And it is becoming more and more popular with the masses, regardless of sobriety.

Many vendors offer non-alcoholic offerings to replace that old-fashioned margarita or that one you might typically sip at a social gathering — and they’re tasty. Some echo flavor of cocktails that many of us are already familiar with.

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Hilary Sheinbaum, author of “The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month,” published in 2020, told USA TODAY she drinks NA cocktails all month. year.

“Even though I don’t have a dry month, it’s very helpful because you can enjoy a delicious drink without the buzz,” she said. “NA beverages also make meetings, restaurant menus, parties, and life events more inclusive for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.”

Whether you want to take time out for drinking, stop drinking altogether, or just drink less, non-alcoholic cans are a great option to pop open at a social gathering or for relaxing at home.

Sales of NA drinks and offers are on the rise

The offerings of NA beverages and low-alcohol beverages are only increasing, Greg Cohen, a spokesperson for the IWSR which provides beverage market analysis, told USA TODAY.

“The total volume of alcohol-free and low-alcohol products in the United States increased by approximately +27% in 2021,” Cohen said in a text message. “The category is expected to grow approximately +23% CAGR volume 2022-2026.”

Options are getting easier and easier to find.

Liz Paquette, head of consumer insights for Drizly, an online ordering and delivery company that focuses on liquor retailers, told USA TODAY that more than 90% of retail partners in the company offer at least one non-alcoholic beverage option.

Sales are also increasing.

“Although the non-alcoholic category still represents a relatively small share of the overall share on Drizly, the growth of this category is profound when comparing sales over the past few years,” said Paquette.

Sales of non-alcoholic spirits increased 600% year over year from 2020 to 2021, NA wine increased 300% and NA beer increased 200%.

In 2021, Drizly saw a 166% increase in the number of NA products available on the platform compared to 2019.

NA drinks are good options for those looking for healthier, lighter options

Borja Manso Salinas, vice president of marketing at a Heinekin that sells Heineken 0.0, a non-alcoholic beer, said the brand has noticed consumers are increasingly focused on wellness.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a cultural shift in how people approach alcohol,” Manso Salinas told USA TODAY in an emailed statement in January. “Short-term challenges like Dry January and Sober October indicate that consumers are more intentional about when they drink alcohol and when they want to abstain from drinking.”

Ginger Hultin, MS RDN CSo and owner of Champagne Nutrition, told USA TODAY in January that not drinking is becoming trendier — to some extent.

“There’s definitely a ‘sober-curious’ culture shift,” Hutlin said. “Alcohol-free beer, alcohol-free wine or even spirits and other types of alcohol-free beverages like shrubs or kombucha are gaining traction. There has been greater awareness of the potential negative effects of alcohol on health – physically and emotionally.”

Younger generations, she added, develop a different relationship to alcohol than their older counterparts.

But it’s not just to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. It also has to do with the availability of soft drinks, according to Manso Salinas.

“The category is growing not because consumers suddenly decide to give up alcohol, but rather because consumers who drink alcohol discover that great-tasting N/A options like Heineken 0.0 can also fit in to their way of life,” said Manso Salinas. .

What kind of options are there?

Whether you’re a beer drinker, cocktail connoisseur, or wine lover, there truly is an NA alternative. for everyone.

There are plenty of non-alcoholic beers on the market from brands like Partake, Clausthaler, Crux Fermentation Project and Athletic Brewing and big name brands are also jumping on the 0% alcohol beer bandwagon. Heinekin, for example, launched its 0.0 beer in 2019. And Guinness has its own 0.0 option.

Like its hoppy counterpart, the wine category also has many brands with offerings such as Null, Surely, Naughty, and Proteau.

And for those interested in a ready-to-drink NA cocktail or wine, there’s Spirity, Ghia, Lyre’s, and Gruvi, among others.

There are also NA spirits to buy – with some brands creating drinks that echo alcoholic classics like tequila.

For example, CleanCo., which encourages drinking “like there’s a tomorrow”, offers Clean R (a spiced rum alternative), Clean G (a gin alternative), Clean T (a tequila alternative) and Clean V (an apple vodka alternative) in aesthetically pleasing packaging that blends into any bar cart.

Another brand called Ish, “a conscious consumer company”, also offers NA spirits such as “RumISH” and “GinISH”, as well as NA wines and NA canned cocktails.

Other brands have created different types of NA drinks.

Three Spirit Drinks, for example, offers bottled options, each unique to suit a particular mood, co-founder Tatiana Mercer told USA TODAY.

Mercer said Three Spirit was created to be a “third” option for social occasions beyond “drinking” and “not drinking.” “Our mission is to show people that alcohol-free doesn’t mean fun-free, and we want to fuel those social occasions with plants.”

Brands like CleanCo, Three Spirit, Free Spirits, Lyre’s, Seedlip, Kin, Ghia, Gnista, and Gruvi, among others, sell their products online, but many NA options can be purchased in select stores.

There are even NA package stores and bar-type organizations such as Boisson, with five New York locations, and Sans Bar St. Louis, which hosts “shaken not slurred” pop-up events.

Non-alcoholic restaurants, bars also have offers

But it’s not just places dedicated to NA drinks that are picking up the trend. Bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages are also starting to take notice.

CleanCo.’s gin, for example, is available at the popular upmarket Nobu restaurant in London for a clean gin and tonic cocktail.

And at New York’s popular West Village bar, the Spaniard, two offerings are listed in the “Booze Free Cocktails” section. At $12 a pop, they’re $4-6 less than most other drinks on the bar menu.

People who drink also choose NA drinks

It’s not just nondrinkers who choose to buy NA beverages. Three Spirit’s Mercer said 80% of the brand’s customers are drinkers.

“I believe people still drink alcohol, but they drink less and are more selective about what they drink,” she said. “There’s more intentionality to avoid killer hangovers and seek out better, more interesting products that spark conversation and connection.”

Contributor: Mike Snider

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