Low-Alcohol drinks boom

Judith Evans reports in the Weekend Financial Times (subscription required) that drinks brands are looking “crack (the) code for growth in lockdown” by marketing “tempting wine, beer and spirit alternatives (to) defy sales gloom.”

Booch News reported back in 2018 on a front-page feature in the London Times that a third of under-25s drink no alcohol.

The Times

It seems the mainstream drinks industry is catching up with the trend (what took them so long, you might wonder?). They’ve begun to notice that consumers are ready to embrace wellness products which include vitamins, herb teas, and of course, kombucha.

The FT notes that alcohol alternatives have done quite nicely during the pandemic:

Drinks analytics group IWSR estimates global alcohol sales fell 9.4 per cent in 2020 to 24.8bn nine-litre cases, as bar and restaurant closures cut social drinking. Yet, sales of low and no-alcohol alternatives, excluding soft drinks, grew slightly by 0.95 per cent to 292.1m cases, according to IWSR data covering about 75 per cent of consumption.

This is true for a wide variety of drinks.


British drinkers are being challenged to participate in a One Year No Beer program that offers the promise of a ‘mindset shift’ to break down the habits associated with drinking.

Society has conditioned you that you need alcohol to be successful, to be cool, to be sexy, to have fun, to relax, the list goes on and on. How will you fare going up against years of social conditioning, second-hand peer pressure and self-doubt, all on your own?

So rather than just deleting alcohol from your life. We’ll help you break down and rebuild new habits and a new mindset that gives you complete control, that will last way past finishing your challenge.

Meeting this challenge is helped by the availability of brews such as Heineken 0.0, Clausthaler Dry-Hopped, and Athletic Brewing Run Wild IPA that beer lovers rate highly. Savvy brands such as Real Kombucha and Left Field Kombucha are making draft kombucha available in bars and restaurants. Kombucha taprooms are opening across the United States.


There’s a growing range of alcohol-free wine available for purchase. In addition to familiar options like Martinelli’s effervescent cider there are cabernet and chardonnay varieties that have undergone dealcoholization and, it is claimed, kept their flavor.

The FT Notes

In the UK, low and no-alcohol wines, including sparkling varieties such as the Nosecco brand, also have a well-established market, with drinkers spending more than £100m on low and no-alcohol wines in the year to November 2020, according to Kantar.


As much as beer and wine are attempting to appeal to those of us who wish to avoid alcohol, and have not yet perhaps discovered ‘booch, the spirits makers are the ones who are really innovating.

Gordon’s 0.0% is an alcohol free version of their famous gin, and promises the same great taste – with none of the alcohol. Anita Robinson, Marketing Director at Diageo states:

Gordon’s 0.0% is created by distilling the same botanicals used in Gordon’s London Dry Gin. These botanicals are individually immersed in water, heated and then distilled before being expertly blended together to capture the essence of Gordon’s in a delicious alcohol-free alternative.

This special distillation process is a closely guarded secret, known only to a handful of people and we are incredibly proud to be bringing gin drinkers that juniper led taste they’re expecting from Gordon’s when they choose not to drink alcohol.

Multinational Diageo has a majority stake in upmarket gin alternative Seedlip that sits alongside other brands, including Ceder from South Aftrica, and CeroCero.

Show me the money

The FT article concludes by noting

It is a potentially profitable direction, since alcohol-free drinks do not incur excise duty — a tax that in the UK amounts to £28.74 per litre of pure alcohol. For example, incurring an £11.50 fee for a litre of 40 per cent ABV vodka. Retail prices for recent alcohol-free launches have been set at or just below alcoholic equivalents despite the tax difference.

Kombucha brands can only benefit from this growing trend for alternatives to intoxicating beer, wine, and spirits. The big brands with their ad budgets and robust distribution channels are softening up the market for the growing acceptance of kombucha.

Help with alcohol abuse

For those in the UK looking for help with alcohol abuse there are organizations that can help.

Information from the NHS

Alcohol support

Drinking alcohol while pregnant


Drinkline is a confidential helpline for those worried about their own or someone else’s drinking. They can put you in touch with your local alcohol advice centre for help and support.
Phone: 0300 123 1110

We Are With You

We Are With You has services throughout England and Scotland that help adults, young people and their families recover from addiction and substance misuse problems.

Visit the We Are With You website: https://www.wearewithyou.org.uk


ASCERT provides support services to young people, adults and families in Northern Ireland who are affected by drugs or alcohol.
Phone 0800 2545 123

Visit the ASCERT website: https://www.ascert.biz

The Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline

The Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline is a bilingual helpline providing information or help to individuals, their families, carers, and support workers
Phone: 0808 808 2234 (24/7)

Visit the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline: https://www.dan247.org.uk

Al-Anon Family Groups

Al-Anon Family Groups provide support to anyone whose life is, or has been, affected by someone else’s drinking, through regular meetings throughout the UK, where members share their own experience of living with alcoholism. Phone: 08000 086 811 Alateen is part of Al-Anon, for teenage (12-17) relatives and friends of alcoholics.

Visit the Al-Anon Family Groups website: https://www.al-anonuk.org.uk

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous provides opportunities to share experience, strength and hope to recover from alcoholism.
Phone: 0800 9177 650

Visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website: https://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/

The National Organisation for FASD (formerly NOFAS-UK)

The National Organisation for FASD (formerly NOFAS-UK) provides support to people affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), their families and communities.

Visit the FASD website: https://nationalfasd.org.uk

Rehab 4 Addiction

Rehab 4 Addiction was founded to assist those affected by substance misuse and their loved ones. We offer a range of services designed to help signpost you to the most effective treatments. This includes alcohol rehab, drug rehab, detox services, intervention, aftercare and outpatient counselling offered by a variety of third-party UK Private Addiction Rehab or NHS/Council-Funded providers. Our helpline advisors are committed to helping you in your quest to locate effective treatments for addiction. You pay nothing for the Rehab 4 Addiction service and free options are typically signposted if fee-paying treatment is not an option for you.

Visit the Rehab 4 Addiction website: https://www.rehab4addiction.co.uk 0800 140 4690

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