‘Mindful drinking’ leads to non-alcohol category growth

‘Mindful drinking’ leads to non-alcohol category growth

Dry January may be over but the trend for ‘no and low alcohol’ products is set to continue growing as more and more people look to cut down their alcohol intake in 2022.

With health and wellness in the psyche of the nation following the pandemic, the no and low alcohol category is thriving.

In the past year, alcohol moderation and ‘mindful drinking’ has become a mainstream movement, and the desire to reduce alcohol intake is at an all-time high with research  half of UK adults (49%) either don’t drink any alcohol or are planning to cut down soon.

The breadth and quality of the category is also growing to meet consumer demand with Nielsen data showing that the no and low ABV sector has grown an impressive 506% since 2015, while IWSR, a leading source of data and intelligence on the alcoholic beverage market, predicts that sales of no and low category will increase in volume by 31% by 2024.

One brand that has seen the impact of this demand is McGuigan’s no-alcohol wine brand,  McGuigan Zero, the No.1 branded no alcohol still wine in the UK. By using the latest spinning cone technology and working at low temperatures to gently remove alcohol after the fermentation process, McGuigan has created a high-quality no-alcohol wine that maintains its delicate fruit flavours.

Julian Dyer, Chief Operating Officer (UK and Europe) for McGuigan’s parent company Australian Vintage Limited (AVL), said: “We’re witnessing a huge shift globally towards alcohol free drinks. Since the pandemic, the category has increasingly moved into the public’s consciousness, bringing with it a greater expectation for range, choice and availability. McGuigan Zero has been an incredible success story for the category by providing the quality and variety that consumers are looking for.”

Beyond a need for health and wellness, the way in which consumers spend their time has led to a change in drinking behaviours. Since the pandemic, more people are opting for a ‘night in’ but are still looking for an adult drink that provides the same experience that comes with drinking alcohol, such as a high quality, no-alcohol wine that can be paired with food or enjoyed leisurely.

For too long the category stood stagnant, with drinks notorious for their bad taste and high sugar content. McGuigan Zero was able to meet a rising demand for a premium no-alcohol product that does not compromise on flavour. It also offers an extensive range to mirror the usual choices customers would expect from alcoholic wines, with five high-quality Zero wines to choose from, including a Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sparkling, Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc.

Growth in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, McGuigan Zero has enjoyed year on year growth of 249% on the back of widespread distribution across more than 500 stores.

Craigavon-based distributor United Wines (UW) has been working with the McGuigan brand in Northern Ireland, which is one of the world’s largest consumers of McGuigan Black Label.  Since 2008, UW has supplied more than 2.5 million cases of McGuigan wines into the Northern Ireland marketplace.

“As McGuigan’s dedicated agent in Northern Ireland, we’ve enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the brand and its market leading products,” said United Wines Managing Director Martin McAuley.

“The McGuigan brand has become synonymous with innovation.  They spotted the trend for no and low alcohol products very early and created McGuigan Zero using the latest wine-making technology to remove the majority of the alcohol without impacting on the taste.  We look forward to even more new products as we head into 2022.

“No and low alcohol drink sales are going from strength to strength as Northern Ireland becomes more health-conscious and consumers adopt a ‘mindful drinking’ approach,” continued Martin.

“Working in tandem with our parent company Heineken has allowed us to grow a category that is of great interest to the Northern Ireland consumer. Enter most shops now and you will find a Zero Zone or shelving dedicated to no alcohol wine, beers and spirits. We are proud to be able to offer that choice to our consumers and retailers alike.”