The non-alcoholic beverage sector has gained significant traction as of late, spurred on by the hugely popular trend of people choosing ‘better for you’ products, as well as moderation events like the one we’re currently in – Dry July.

Events like Dry July often inspire people to explore the ever-growing no alcohol beverage space. With an increasing range of products on offer as well as an increasing number of specialty retailers catering to this sector, it’s never been easier for consumers to develop a taste for non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits.

Post Dry July, many of these consumers will be more familiar with these types of products, and more open to drinking them in addition to their usual choice of alcoholic beverage. Non-alcoholic beverages are therefore a great area of opportunity for liquor retailers to cater to these consumers, and inspire some exploration in the space in-store.

National Liquor News has been closely following interest in the no alcohol space, and throughout the year so far, we’ve spoken to numerous suppliers, producers and retailers about it. In the midst of Dry July, we’ve gathered some of their insights here to highlight three of the top things to consider when retailing no alcohol beverages in liquor stores.

Fridge space

As with any category, it’s important for there to be some non alcoholic options on offer in the fridge to encourage impulse and ‘grab-and-go’ purchases. This is especially true for beer, according to the following non alcoholic beer producers:

  • “Fridge space is an important one as non-alc beer is often bought to consume the same day.” – Jaz Wearin, Modus Operandi Brewing
  • “As [no and low alcohol] is a relatively new segment, the emphasis is on building awareness for the growing range of brands in-store with separate fridge dedicated to these brands.” – Sam Martin, Stone & Wood
  • “Having six-packs of these beers in the fridge in a prominent signposted section will really drive growth of the category through trial and impulse purchase.” – Paul Weaving, Drink Craft

This is also something that was highlighted by wine producers, especially when it comes to no and low alcohol varietals that are often purchased for immediate consumption:

  • “We know from consumer research that the target demographic are convenience shoppers looking for immediate consumption, so it is key that the Prosecco and the rosé are at eye level and in the fridge so they’re ready to drink.” – Ben Turner, Australian Vintage Limited
  • “Fridge placements on sparkling, whites and lighter style reds are a great way to encourage trial and capitalise on the fact that most purchases are made with immediate consumption in mind.” – Anna Czarnocka, Yellow Tail

In-store location

In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, Snooper noted that the location of non-alcoholic beer in-store was wide ranging. Some retailers stocked it next to full strength options, blocking brands together rather than blocking products by ABV, while others had dedicated bays for no and low alcohol beers, and others stocked them randomly.

Producers say this is evident across spirits and wine too, and there’s debate about the best way to do this:

  • “Where we find that retailers do particularly well is blocking the adult beverage alternatives that are alcohol free together – that’s the ‘Aha’ moment for a lot of consumers who come in looking for an alternative.” – Mark Livings, Lyre’s
  • “[No and low alcohol beer] should be stocked with full strength beer, after all they are beer, just without the alcohol.” – Emma Craggs, Coopers Brewery
  • “Discovery and shopping of the category should be quick and easy for shoppers seeking out non-alcoholic options. A dedicated and well sign-posted space for the category is the best way to drive sales.” – Paul Weaving, Drink Craft
  • “I think a non-alc section makes a little bit more sense, just so it’s one place that you have to look… but you could also argue there’s reason to separate them so it’s clearer to people looking [for a specific product].” – Tim Triggs, ALTD

Education

The final area of advice about non alcoholic beverage retail has to do with education – both with giving consumers the chance to learn more about the sector in-store, and then also having the range to let them use this knowledge to explore it a bit more, therefore increasing basket size and purchase frequency.

  • “When it comes to wine, it can be overwhelming for consumers, so clear labelling and making the distinction between no alcohol and low alcohol is key to conversion.” – Emma Baldwin, Pernod Ricard
  • “One in four adult Australians don’t drink at all, so they have no reason whatsoever to come into a bottle shop. By promoting products like this you give them a reason to, and retailers can potentially increase their foot traffic by 20-25 per cent if they can attract people into the store to find things that suit how they want to consume.” – Mark Livings, Lyre’s
  • “Work with sales road crew on building bespoke POS, fridge skins and floor stacks to bring some excitement to the dedicated area.” – Sam Martin, Stone & Wood
  • “Well marketed moderation events such as FebFast, Dry July and Ocsober are becoming important periods in consumers’ minds… Retailers are confirming with us that non-alcoholic beverages are increasing average spend in-store. Nort is proving to be an add-on to traditional alcohol purchases.” – Jaz Wearin, Modus Operandi Brewing
  • “I think it’s about giving people options. Now isn’t the time to bury your head in the sand and think that non alc is going to kill alc. But there are customers that are still willing to pay a premium price point for something that makes them feel included in social situations [when they aren’t drinking.]” – Samantha Manning, Monday Distillery

New products

There’s been a flurry of new products on the non-alcoholic beverage market in recent months, which can be leveraged in-store with the above tips. Some of the recent ones include:

  • Banks Botanical: This new Australian brand has released its first non-alcoholic organic botanical spirit due to the growing interest in alternative beverages. Co-founder Yolanda Uys said: “We are aware that more people are looking for a drink that is sophisticated, non-alcoholic and taste-driven, yet still allows all of us tobe part of the mix. Whether it is mixing it up with friends midweek or mixing in a big day out today with a big day coming up tomorrow, they want to enjoy the best of spirits while being part of the moment.”
  • Lyre’s: Powerhouse non-alcoholic brand Lyre’s recently expanded its RTD range in Australia to include limited edition varieties, American Malt & Cola and Dark n’ Spicy.
  • Nort: The non-alcoholic beer range by Modus Operandi has released three new non-alc beers – the Pacific Ale, Tropical XPA and All Day IPA. Co-founder Jaz Wearin said: “After last year’s overwhelmingly positive response that we received from the Refreshing Ale launch, we immediately started working on adding some variety to the portfolio, giving Aussies more tasty non-alc beer options.”
  • Athletic Brewing: This US non-alcoholic brewer is touching down in Australia now, and set to start distributing its no alcohol Upside Dawn Golden Ale and Run Wild IPA soon.

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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