Non-alcoholic consumption continues to rise on & off-premise

June 30, 2021
By Ioni Doherty

The trend for Australians towards moderate alcohol consumption continues. With Dry July upon us, Endeavour Group is reporting that sales of non-alcoholic drinks have increased more than 83 percent in the past 12 months*.

“The majority of customers are choosing non-alcoholic drinks because they want to moderate, which is a reflection of a broader trend of Australians drinking less but better,” said Endeavour Group’s Head of Merchandise Transformation Bree Coleman. 

Alcoholic Beverages Australia, CEO Andrew Wilsmore concurs “Many people don’t realise that per capita consumption of alcohol is at its lowest in level in 50 years due to Australians adjusting the way they drink – choosing to drink less, but often choosing to drink better.”

Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) says that this cultural shift is being led by the 18-24 year old demographic with the majority of young Australians (83.2%**) drinking in moderation and within the guidelines, according to the latest survey from the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

Twenty-nine per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed by the foundation and 25 per cent of 25 to 29-year-olds, did not associate alcohol with illness or injury.

“Our youngest generation should be applauded…as they are driving one of the most significant cultural changes we have ever seen,“ says Wilsmore.

Additionally, Lyre’s non-alcoholic spirit is now available in 43 countries with projections for sales in in excess of $62 million by the fourth quarter of this year.

After spending 20 years in London, Seadrift founders Alastair and Carolyn Whiteley saw first hand how non- and occasional drinkers were propelling the demand for choice in the ‘no’ and ‘low’ alcohol categories. The trend seen in bars in New York and London, is now reaching Australian venues.

High-profile restaurants and bars like Kitchen By Mike, The Grounds (Alexandria and CBD) and China Diner (whose Seadrift cocktails are pictured above) are now stocking Seadrift Classic and Seadrift Coast – the non-alcohol spirit flavoured with fresh botanicals including kelp from Sydney’s Northern Beaches – to provide patrons with a local, alcohol-free drink or cocktail they can enjoy any time of the day.

To meet this emerging market, Endeavour Group will be expanding their range of non-alcoholic beverages with Dan Murphy’s to soon boast one of the country’s largest offering with more than 200 different products to choose from with everything from craft beer, rosé and bubbles to craft gin and bourbon.

Beer is the best selling non-alcoholic drink followed by wine.

“Non-alcoholic beer has been around for quite some time, and brewers have really managed to perfect a product that tastes like the alcoholic version. Now, we are also seeing a great range of delicious non-alcoholic craft beers explode on the scene,” Ms Coleman said. 

“Many winemakers have spent the last few years refining methods to make non-alcoholic wines, and many craft the wines as they normally would, and then remove the alcohol, which means the wines have all the flavours, but none of the alcohol,” she added. 

Although beer and wine are the best selling non-alcoholic drinks, the sales for non-alcoholic spirits (136 percent growth in the last 12 months) and premix (968 percent) are the fastest growing. Seadrift and Lyre’s are both stocked by Dan Murphy’s.

“The gin-essaince and the premix premiumisation are trends that are reflected in customers wanting to explore non-alcoholic options in those categories,” Ms Coleman said. 

The new and improved range of 200 products at Dan Murphy’ will be available nationally via online orders, and will be available in 20 physical stores to begin with from mid-July.

“We have chosen these 20 stores because they are the biggest sellers of non-alcoholic drinks, so we think the local customers will appreciate the expanded range,” she explained.  

Dan Murphy’s stores which will have the entire new range in stores:

ACT: Dickson, Canberra Airport (range in August) 

NSW: Double Bay, Frenchs Forest, Mona Vale, Casula

VIC: Ocean Grove, Hawthorn East, Richmond, Alphington, Prahran, Glen Waverley

SA: Noarlunga, Glenunga

QLD: Noosaville,The Gap, Middle Park

WA: Kelmscott, Como

TAS: Launceston

* According to Food Standards Australia, beverages containing less than 0.5% ABV are considered non-alcoholic. 

** AIHW NDSHS 2019

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