The Buzz On “Buzz”-Free Spirits

The buzz around “buzz”-free spirits is continuing to grow, as more consumers – both at home and abroad – choose to drink less alcohol. IWSR, a market research company specializing in data and analysis on the beverage alcohol market, forecasts the global no/low alcohol category will grow by 31 per cent by 2024.

The rise in popularity of non-alcoholic spirits like Sobrii is linked to a general movement towards health and wellness, with IWSR’s research showing that people primarily opt for no/low alcohol beverages in order to “avoid the effects of drinking alcohol.”

A 2022 survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of Instacart also found that 44 per cent of people want to drink alcohol-flavoured beverages so they can avoid the possibility of a hangover or other negative impacts of alcohol. Further, 49 per cent of those who reported an interest in consuming non-alcoholic beverages this summer said it’s because they want a healthier replacement for alcoholic drinks.  

With wellness driving more consumers to drink less, it’s no longer just teetotalers who are turning to non-alcoholic spirits as an alternative to booze. Instead, about 78 per cent of people who buy non-alcoholic beverages also buy alcohol as well, according to Forbes.

While non-alcoholic alternatives have been traditionally dominated by non-alcoholic beer, which comprises a 92 per cent share in the no/low alcohol segment, according to IWSR, non-alcoholic spirits and wines are starting to gain momentum.

Instacart’s survey found that while sales of non-alcoholic beer grew by 35 per cent, it was outpaced by non-alcoholic wine, which grew by 42 per cent. Non-alcoholic spirits like Sobrii saw the most dramatic growth, with a whopping 203 per cent increase in demand.

Innovation is also driving consumers’ interest in non-alcoholic spirits, with more diverse, interesting, and flavourful alternatives to alcohol available than ever before.

“Brand owners will have an important role to play in the future development of no- and low alcohol, as increasing the breadth of products available to consumers and their price points will support category growth and broaden its appeal,” said Mark Meek, CEO of IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, which also reported that consumers consistently point towards taste as key to drinking no/low alcohol beverages.

Non-alcoholic alternatives are also becoming more widely available. Whole Foods noted in its Top 10 Trends for 2022 report that the “dialed-down spirits category” saw “record growth” in their stores over the past year. Indeed, non-alcoholic spirits are an increasingly common find on store shelves, from major chains to independent shops and dedicated alcohol-free online retailers.

Communities, such as Some Good Clean Fun, are also springing up, offering resources to help sober-curious individuals and support for living a life with less alcohol.

Non-alcoholic spirits are receiving growing recognition through their inclusion in traditional spirit competitions, such as the International Spirits Challenge (ISC). “Not only have we seen the number of ISC entries increase within the non-alcoholic spirits section, but the quality too,” Shay Waterworth, editor of Drinks International, the brand behind the ISC, told Sobrii last month.

“The continued demand from consumers to find premium alternatives in order to reduce their consumption has been the key driving force behind this change,” he added.


Author: Jessica Huras

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