Almost a third of pub visits alcohol-free as drinkers moderate, research finds

·2-min read
Non-alcoholic beer brand Lucky Saint has seen a surge in sales over the past 18 months (Lucky Saint/PA)
Non-alcoholic beer brand Lucky Saint has seen a surge in sales over the past 18 months (Lucky Saint/PA)

Almost a third of pub visits are now completely alcohol-free as the trend for moderation among drinkers continues to grow, according to new research.

Around 29% of pub visits and 37% of restaurant visits are now alcohol-free, according to an industry report commissioned by KAM and Lucky Saint.

The figures come amid a wider reduction in the levels of alcohol consumption across the UK in recent years, with many reducing cutting intake due to health concerns and other reasons.

It showed that 55% of UK drinkers consume fewer than 10 units of alcohol per week.

In 2019, NHS research reported that 60% of adults drank up to 14 units per week.

Katy Moses, managing director of sector research firm KAM, said: “Without a doubt, alcohol consumption habits are shifting in the UK.

We need to rethink what we understand as a ‘non-drinker’ in the UK. Those who move fast to tap into this market in the UK will see huge rewards in the coming years

Luke Boase, Lucky Saint

“Despite short-term flux during the pandemic, an overwhelming proportion of Brits intend to cut down their consumption over the next 12 months.

“The growth in popularity of the alcohol-free category isn’t primarily driven by those who never drink alcohol, but rather the huge number of Brits who simply want to moderate their intake and are looking for a great-tasting alternative.”

A raft of major brewers, including Heineken and Budweiser, have expanded into non-alcoholic beers in recent years in search of growth as other areas of the beer industry see restrained demand.

Luke Boase, founder of non-alcoholic lager brand Lucky Saint, said he believes we are at the start “of a cultural shift in our attitudes towards drinking in the UK”.

The company said it has seen like-for-like growth of 180% since the start of 2021 amid a surge in demand after hospitality operators returned to growth following the pandemic.

He said: “The likes of Spain, France and Germany all have at least five times the market share for low and no (alcohol) options compared to the UK.

“Consumers want taste and quality, but historically there’s not been a product that fits the bill.

“We need to rethink what we understand as a ‘non-drinker’ in the UK. Those who move fast to tap into this market in the UK will see huge rewards in the coming years.”

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