Going Dry For Summer


It may be summertime in the northern hemisphere, but despite the hot weather, the British are surprisingly creating a record thirst for no and low-alcohol beer, the latest sales data can reveal.

While Dry January traditionally saw the highest annual recorded demand for no and low beer, sales at Tesco have continued to soar since the start of the year.

And latest overall market data from retail analysts Circana (20 May 2023) showed that while demand for regular beer has fallen by six per cent in the last year, sales of no and low beers have grown by six per cent in the same period.

Sales are so strong that demand for the first three weeks of June is more than 25 per cent higher than for the first three weeks of Dry January.

And interestingly, the highest growth for no and low beer in 2023 was not in England but is currently happening in Scotland and Wales, with growth at around 12 per cent. Growth in England is just under 10 per cent.

The news follows recent research, which found that over half of all adults in the UK plan to moderate their alcohol intake in 2023.

Tesco Beer Buyer Jess Edmondson said that the current boom was down to the number of authentic-tasting products now available from brewers using high-quality ingredients and more advanced methods.

“This revolution has grown very quickly in the last five years, and instead of the thin-tasting alcohol-free beers that were on the market back then, shoppers can now find fuller-bodied equivalents that taste like the real thing," said Edmondson.

“With the growth of these superior products, we’ve also seen the emergence of new no and low beer shoppers who are buying larger pack sizes rather than single cans or bottles, as a result of having more confidence in the quality now available.”

Tesco has 29 no and low-alcohol beers catering for many tastes with lager, ale, stout, craft and world beer varieties. It also stocks nine no/low alcohol ciders.

Britain’s biggest dedicated no and low beer brand is Lucky Saint, the official beer of Dry January in the UK. They have seen their volume growth rocket by 180 per cent in the last year, even opening their pub, The Lucky Saint, in London in March to champion alcohol-free drinks alongside alcoholic ones.

Lucky Saint founder Luke Boase said that this idea that consumers have to apologise for not drinking was fading with a rapid cultural shift in attitudes towards alcohol.

“With the rise of great tasting alcohol-free drinks and a desire to lead healthier lifestyles, more people than ever are moderating their alcohol consumption,” said Boase.