On the eve of Dry July, new data shows sales of non-alcoholic drinks have more than doubled in the last year at two major retailers.
Sales data from BWS and Dan Murphy’s shows it is one of their fastest growing categories.
“This is a reflection of a broader trend where consumers are choosing to moderate, with particular interest from customers in metro areas,” said Adam Fry, General Manager of Buying & Merchandising of Endeavour Group, the parent company of BWS and Dan Murphy’s. “We expect this trend to continue,”
In the last 12 months, sales of non-alcoholic beer, wine, cider, RTD and spirits peaked during Christmas and July, and there was also an uplift in sales in March to coincide with customers preparing for COVID-19 lockdown.
Non-alcoholic beer is the fastest growing segment according to Endeavour Group.
“One of the reasons beer is so popular is that brewers have managed to create a product that replicates the flavour profile of the alcoholic version,” Fry said. “Winemakers and distillers are following suit and many have managed to perfect the art of creating alcohol-free beverages that taste great,”
To meet the increase in demand, many Australian producers are now creating non-alcoholic options.
Burleigh-based Sobah was introduced to the market in 2017 as Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer, founded by Gamilaroi man and psychologist Clinton Schultz and his wife Lozen and is going into selected Queensland BWS and Dan Murphy’s stores this week.
“Historically speaking, non-alcoholic beers have been known to be lackluster but with new technologies and brewing processes we can make non-alcoholic craft beer that tastes damn good,” Lozen said. “We use Australian bush tucker to create a range of beers with truly unique flavours.”
Australians are also exploring non-alcoholic spirits, using them to create a wide range of mocktails.
Created by a Sydney-based start-up, Lyre’s offer a range of craft non-alcoholic spirits that pay homage to the flavours of gin, rum and bourbon. Lyre’s has emerged on the global awards circuit and has secured multiple awards including 10 medals at the 2020 San Francisco World Spirits Competition – making it the most awarded alcohol-free range in the world.
“We know some Australians are choosing to drink differently and our product range is designed to give them freedom of choice – the same great taste we know people love, but alcohol free,” Lyre’s co-founder Mark Livings said. “Having a range means you can recreate your favourite drink or cocktail, be it a G&T, a negroni, a spritz or even the crowd-pleasing espresso martini in a non-alcoholic format.”
Patrick Connors is a winemaker for Lindeman’s based in Barossa, and he makes low alcohol wine (0%-0.05% alcohol by volume) by crafting wine with traditional methods, and then deducting alcohol.
“Customers tell us that wines in our 0.5% range actually taste like their varietal – which as winemakers is our ultimate goal,” he said. “Advancements in technology for removing alcohol have allowed us to craft wines lighter in alcohol, but without losing the natural flavours and characteristics associated with the individual grape varietals.”