Non-alcoholic beer (defined as less than or equal to 0.5% ABV) accounts for less than 1% of the global beer market, but since 2012 (growth has been far outpacing that of the overall beer category.

In the majority of regions, the health trend has been the main (and in some cases the sole) contributory factor. In Brazil Ambev has launched Skol Ultra targeted towards athletes and containing pure malt, no corn additives and 99 calories per 35.5cl. Latin America countries have also seen the launch of Brahma 0.0% by Anheuser-Busch InBev, contributing to Brazil’s 37% surge in non-alcoholic beer consumption in 2015.

Another influence behind the rise in non-alcoholic beer in many regions is the drink driving phenomenon. While Colombia has initiated more stringent rules to deal with the offence, Germany has seen an increase in the media publicising the effects of driving under the influence. This trend has also helped to spawn the establishment of sober clubs; particularly in Sweden where teetotalism has really driven the non-alcoholic sector.

In West Europe Germany is the key driver of non-alcoholic beer volume growth thanks primarily to the success of beer mixes, which are also attracting consumers who are usually non-beer drinkers. Some non-alcoholic beers such as Erdinger Alcohol-free are being promoted on an isotonic platform to resonate with the health-conscious consumer. Many of the German brewers are even targeting sports clubs.

Looking ahead, there is plenty of opportunity for the major brewers to tap into the growing healthy lifestyle and alcohol abstinence trends with new product development and a focus on the natural attributes of beer.