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Health-conscious Britons boost alcohol-free drink sales to record high

Health-conscious Britons boost alcohol-free drink sales to record high

Sales of non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits are at a record high in the UK with increasing numbers of London producers looking to make the most of the £100 million industry.

Figures from market researchers Nielsen indicate sales of some categories are up by over a third. Britons spent a record £57 million in the 12 months to April on low or non-alcoholic beers — an increase of 39 per cent and the equivalent of 12.5 million pints consumed.

They also spent £48 million on low or no-alcohol wines over the same period. Non-alcoholic spirits, a market only three years old, is now worth £5 million.

Gemma Cooper, from Nielsen, said the demand for non- and low-alcohol drinks was not exclusively driven by the “health conscious”, adding there was “across-the-board” interest from all consumers who increasingly want ways to “cut down”.

She said: “Our data shows that just over one in 10 shoppers say they are looking to cut down their alcohol consumption. And while most are doing this by simply drinking less, some are turning to low or no-alcohol products.”

She added that having a wide selection of non-alcoholic cocktails in venues such as the American Bar at The Savoy was boosting the trend.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said the low-alcohol wine and beer market had increased “ten times since 2009 and the wider and non-alcoholic spirit alternatives are following suit”. Selfridges said sales of non-alcoholic spirits were up 50 per cent year on year and Waitrose said sales of its low-alcohol products were “exceeding expectations”.

It comes as World Health Organisation data found Britons are on average drinking less alcohol, with consumption falling from 12.6 litres of pure alcohol a year per adult in 1990 to 11.4 litres in 2017. 

A 2018 study involving nearly 10,000 young people aged 16 to 24 found the number who said they never drink alcohol increased from 18 per cent in 2005 to 29 per cent in 2015. Several celebrities have now gone teetotal, including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Blake Lively.

Peroni, Becks and Heineken are among the global brands making zero-alcohol beers, along with east London Nirvana Brewery.

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