Are You Aware of These Non-Alcoholic Beverage Trends?

by | Jul 12, 2022 | Beverage Trends

Woman standing in front of a display showing the non-alcoholic beverage trends shaping the food industry

From Dry January to the sober-curios movement, non-alcoholic beverage trends are pushing brands in the beverage industry to join the hype and get in on a booming market. What many consumers thought would be just another novelty is now a firmly established sector that includes non-alcoholic beers, wines, spirits, and cocktails. As people want to mingle with friends and family but make healthier choices at the same time, the non-alcoholic beverage industry is growing at a remarkable pace. NielsenHQ reports that people spent $3.3 billion on non-alcoholic beverages in 2021, with many brands launching new no and low-alcoholic beverage alternatives in their stores. 

The challenge for brands in this space is matching the flavors, aromas, and even textures of traditional beers and spirits using innovative distillation techniques. As the process is complex, the cost of these beverages often exceeds those of established alcoholic products. However, consumers are willing to pay for the luxury of having a buzz-less beverage that tastes just as good as the original. Across the industry, on shelves and menus, non-alcoholic beverage options are attracting interest from people that want to drink less or go completely dry for improved mental and physical health. Below, we look at some of the latest non-alcoholic beverage trends that will shake up the industry over the coming months. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Non-alcoholic beverages are popular with health-conscious consumers, especially the Gen Z and millennial segments
  • Trends in non-alcoholic beverages include a wider variety of products, improved flavors, and healthier alternatives for regular beers, wines, and spirits
  • Brands that want to succeed in this space have to know how to market to the sober generation, find new and exciting food and drink pairings, or invent buzz-inducing alternatives to alcohol

4 Non-Alcoholic Beverage Trends for 2022

Multiple factors are driving the growth in the non-alcoholic and alcohol-adjacent beverage industry. Improved brewing and distillation techniques allow manufacturers to introduce various flavors and aromas into new and exciting concoctions. At the same time, the pandemic changed many peoples’ attitudes towards social drinking and altered how they view their personal health. In bars and restaurants, it’s now common to find booze-free alternatives suited for any occasion. On supermarket shelves, 0% ABV beers and cocktails feature prominently, while some organizations even sell these products in their offices. Here are four of the biggest trends in non-alcoholic beverage options for 2022. 

1. Catering for Sophisticated Palettes

Gone are the days of just reducing the alcohol content in a beer and expecting consumers to flock to the shelves. Today’s non-alcoholic options have complex flavor notes and spark the same kinds of conversations that you’d expect to find at a wine tasting event. The ingredients used to build out these flavors come from all over the world to produce delicate and intricate aromas that intrigue consumers, especially the Gen Z and millennial markets. Non-alcoholic spirits from Lyre can have more than 36 flavor notes, while the juniper used in CleanCo’s gin comes only from Bulgaria to ensure a consistent, repeatable taste palette. Consumers who prefer non-alcoholic drinks tend to make buying decisions based on flavor, nutritional benefits, and the use of organic products in these beverages. Non-alcoholic beer remains the biggest market globally and will grow exponentially over the next five to six years. 

 Non-alcoholic beer market growth prediction of over 7% until 2028

2. Marketing to the Sober Generation

Influencers and celebrities are helping brands to elevate their profiles by using socially native platforms to spread the word. Last year, Seedlip participated in a non-alcoholic cocktail demonstration at the virtual SXSW event to engage with a younger audience who are overwhelmingly turning to healthier drinking options during their social interactions. 

Product packaging is another factor that helps a brand stand out from an increasingly competitive crowd. Som, a producer of cane vinegar cordial, redesigned their bottles from a squat shape to a slimmer version, so it looks right at home in bartender racks. Some of the tips to consider when marketing to the sober generation includes:

  • Include nutritional information such as sugar content on all your labels
  • Adopt complete transparency for your production processes and ingredient sourcing
  • Verify any health benefits you list in your marketing collateral with third-party labs and researchers

3. New Food Pairings for Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Like normal beers and wines, some food pairs better with certain non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. The non-alcoholic beverages that consumers choose will depend on the weather, their personal tastes, and the flavor of the food that’s in season. Restaurants and mixologists continue to develop new pairings of non-alcoholic beverages and food recipes that complement each other to provide better experiences for consumers. The same rules apply when creating new pairings, and brands that want to elevate their products should consider what drinks go better with specific foods in different settings. 

4. Alcohol-Adjacent Beverage Trends

Although non-alcoholic and buzz-less beverages are rising in popularity, another emerging market is alcohol-adjacent products. Some consumers still want to relax when enjoying a drink and avoid the effects of alcohol. CBD-infused drinks and alcohol-adjacent beverages appeal to health-conscious consumers while still changing how consumers “feel” by using nootropics, adaptogens, and botanical ingredients. Products include seltzers, THC-infused soda pops, CBD-canned spritzers, and premixed cocktails that consumers can mix and match as per their preference. Research from the IWSR predicts that the alcohol-adjacent market will grow at 12% over the next three years. Appealing taste profiles combined with “stressed-out” consumers are fueling the growth in this industry, and more products will start becoming readily available in the near future. 

 Infographic showing the non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverage market growth until 2021

Discover More Non-Alcoholic Beverage Trends at SIAL America

The non-alcoholic beverage industry will carve out a major portion of the market over the next few years. The buying power of Gen Z and millennial consumers means that brands need to adapt their products to cater to these new tastes and sentiments. No and low-volume alcoholic beverages will only rise in popularity, while alcohol-adjacent drinks are also drawing consumers away from traditional beers, wines, and spirits. At SIAL America, you can connect with the brands leading the way and try out some of these innovations in beverages for yourself.

To learn more about the latest non-alcoholic beverage trends at SIAL America 2023, register for your attendance here