According to the IWSR (International Wines and Spirits Record) alcohol consumption worldwide fell by 1.5% last year. This is mirrored by a declining alcohol consumption trend in Australia. Far from wanting to drink Fire Engines, the designated drivers and health conscious millennials, are turning to a much more sophisticated selection of non-alcoholic beverage choices. Bankstown Sports Club have faced the challenge of the new disruptors in the beverage market and are now offering a wide range of non-alcoholic beverages to suit a range of tastes, from 0.0% beer to non-alcoholic spirits.

Changing trends

The key driver of the trends, according to a survey by UCL are the 16-24 year old demographic group now abstaining from alcohol. Consumer awareness for both the environment and their own health and wellness are two important factors dictating the future of the beverage industry in 2019.

Beverage companies must now keep up with this cultural shift by innovating new products, not only in the form of non-alcoholic options, but that also align with health, wellness and sustainability trends. Health conscious consumers are one of the main targets within this category and many brands are looking to capitalise on this prominent trend of healthy living.

This category has hence evolved beyond soft drinks or orange juice as an alternative for these consumers during social occasions with friends. Earlier this year, Sparklingly Sober launched an alcohol-free fizzy wine alternative and Coca-Cola launched a range of alcohol-free sparkling drinks aimed at adults.

From Peroni to Heineken, 0.0% beers are appearing everywhere.

More adventurous flavours and multi-sensory culinary experiences for consumers

A completely different approach that goes beyond traditional thinking can be found in the spirits and cocktail sector. Industry insiders predict a great deal of success for cocktails with little or no alcohol in 2019/2020.

The world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit, Seedlip, which was launched in 2016, shows how successful alcohol-free can be in a market that was previously dominated by drinks with a high alcohol content. According to Claire Smith Warner, Head of New Brands at Seedlip, “there is growing demand for experience cocktails that are as complex and elaborate as food. The aim is not to completely replace alcoholic beverages. The idea is that mixologists experiment.”

This is a position the market research institute Innova Market Insights has also confirmed while regarding increasingly adventurous consumers as being the most significant among the top ten trends in 2019 in the food and beverage industry.

Sales of non-alcoholic beer in Australia have risen significantly

According to CUB non-alcoholic, low and mid-strength beers now account for around 25% of all CUB sales – a 10% increase from five years ago.

CUB’s Carlton Zero especially has played a hand in the increased uptake. Since launching a year ago, it has sold more than 3.2 million litres in Australia. Plus, CUB said Carlton Zero “dominates” non-alcoholic beer sales in bottle shops, driving up sales in that category by 14 times.

A CUB commissioned national online survey of 1000 people in September found that zero alcohol beer is most popular with people between 18-34 years old. Almost half of them (49%) also said they would consider drinking a zero-alcohol beer at a social occasion.

Bankstown Sports embraces the changing trends

Some of the new non-alcoholic beverages that Bankstown Sports are making available for members is the new Heineken 0.0 which is a zero-alcohol beer boasting all the natural flavours of the traditional product, without the alcohol content.

A company called Lyre’s has unveiled its range of alcohol-free classic spirits including an American Malt, Highland Malt, Coffee Liqueur, Dry London Spirit and White Cane Spirit, which all look and taste like a real spirit, but won’t leave you with the headache the next day.

Seedlip is a nature company on a mission to change the way the world drinks, offering three unique spirit-type blends – Spice 94 and Grove 42 – which can be served with tonic or mixed to create a sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktail.

And there’s ALTD Spirits with its Silver Princess, which is a fruit driven, alcohol free spirit, with berry, spice and lime characteristics.