The no and low alcohol trend is something that has been picking up speed as of late, and according to new research by DrinkWise, the trend is starting to make a real difference on the responsible consumption habits of Australia.

The study revealed that zero, low and mid-strength alcohol options are helping more consumers moderate their alcohol intake. Thirty-two per cent of consumers have reduced their consumption of alcohol with these beverages, while half of risky drinkers willing to use these options to help moderate. This is significant, considering the 31 per cent of risky drinkers that have increased their alcohol consumption since the start of the pandemic, while the majority has either kept their consumption the same or decreased it.

However, the research also indicated there is a perceived stigma around drinking less, with 35 per cent of people aged 18-44 admitting they would hide the fact they are not drinking or choosing lower strength options from the people around them.

In an effort to combat this stigma and boost the recognition of what no and low products can offer, DrinkWise and Endeavour Group have worked together on an in-store trial in select Dan Murphy’s and BWS locations. In this trial, dedicated zero, low and mid-strength bays will be placed front and centre in the stores, alongside messaging to encourage these drink options.

DrinkWise CEO, Simon Strahan, said: “Almost six out of 10 alcohol drinkers aged 18 – 24 years old are looking to cut down their alcohol consumption. This new DrinkWise research highlights the positive impact that zero, low and mid strength products can have in helping to reduce alcohol consumption, which is why we’re working with Dan Murphy’s and BWS liquor stores to raise awareness of, and improve access to, lower strength and zero alcohol products.”

Steve Donohue, CEO and Managing Director of Endeavour Group, added: “We are seeing an acceleration in the recent trend of customers seeking more ways to moderate their drinking, and this has corresponded with a steady rise in the number of people purchasing lower and zero alcohol options. We couldn’t be prouder to help raise awareness of these low-alcohol alternatives in partnership with DrinkWise, and to assist our customers to make responsible choices.”

The trial has been commended for its potential to raise awareness for a growing category in the industry amongst the demographics that stand to benefit the most. For example, this applies to risky drinkers (people who consume 10 or more standard drinks a week or more than four standard drinks a day), and younger people aged 18-44, which according to the research, are twice as likely to consume lower alcohol options than people over the age of 45.

General Practitioner, Dr Matt Hargreaves, said: “It’s heartening to see the majority of Australians drinking less during COVID-19 but sadly one in three (31 per cent) risky drinkers have increased their alcohol intake in recent months. As a doctor who sees patients wanting to cut back on their alcohol consumption, I commend DrinkWise and Endeavour Group for raising awareness and improving access to lower strength and zero alcohol products.”

The pilot program will begin in QLD before being rolled out to other states and will help identify the best ways to raise awareness of these types of beverages. This is a targeted and strategic roll out, as the DrinkWise study indicated Queenslanders are significantly more likely to drink alcohol at risky levels, compared to the nation’s average (34 per cent versus 28 per cent). Drinkers in this state were also very receptive to no and low alcohol options, and 58 per cent agreed that access to these types of drinks allows people to “take greater control of their drinking choices.”

This program by Endeavour Group and DrinkWise is a great example of how no and low alcohol products can be utilised in-store, something that currently differs greatly across the liquor retail landscape. For example, according to an article by Snooper in the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, published earlier this year, no and low alcohol beer is stocked in vastly different ways store to store. At the time, this was attributed to the lack of knowledge about how shoppers navigate the low and no alcohol category, and ever since, the industry has been building this knowledge through studies such as this one by DrinkWise.

Around this year’s Dry July campaign, National Liquor News collated some of the top tips for retailing no and low alcohol products from several suppliers in the space. These tips focus on the importance of fridge space allocation, general location in-store and education, all of which are noted as key elements for the visibility and therefore success of the burgeoning no and low alcohol space.

Want to share your insights on the no and low alcohol category? Get involved with our upcoming feature on the category for the December issue of National Liquor News by emailing our editor:

Brydie Allen

Brydie Allen is the Editor of National Liquor News. She has been with Food and Beverage Media since 2019, when she joined the company as a journalist across National Liquor News, Bars & Clubs, The...

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