In Australia, four friends launched the non-alcoholic beer company “Heaps Normal” amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They have already raised $1.3 million from investors, including prominent start-up founders and are looking to grow their business further.
The friends decided to launch the company as they realized all of them want to reduce their alcohol use – for vastly different reasons. This led to the name of the company representing the many people who want to choose alcohol-free for numerous reasons. They also hope to change the harmful alcohol norm in Australia with a product which relates to Australians.
The four of us have experienced that Australia has a bit of a [alcohol] problem… We felt to have that impact on [alcohol] culture, we have to be able to relate to people and people’s different individual choices,” said Andy Miller, co-founder and chief executive of Heaps Normal, as per the Sydney Morning Herald.Andy Miller, co-founder and chief executive, Heaps Normal
Alcohol-free beer is one of the fastest growing beverage markets in Australia. Many major beer brands have launched their own alcohol-free versions to align with the growing alcohol-free trend. These include Carlton Zero from beer giant Carlton & United Breweries, Heineken 0.0 sold by Lion and craft beer brands Sobah, UpFlow and NORT Refreshing Ale.
United Kingdom (UK)
In the UK, supermarket sales of no-alcohol and low-alcohol beverages – known as NoLo – have soared during the pandemic as these products become mainstream. According to Nielsen, NoLo alcohol sales increased by 32.5% immediately before the March lockdown. Since then retail sales of NoLo products have increased by 30% to £188 million.
A spike is also noted in NoLo spirits and wines. For instance, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association noted that this category was worth £109m between April and June, 2020. Waitrose reported that its sales of low- and no-alcohol spirits and wines increased by 22% compared to the same time last year, versions of beer were up 29% and cider 13%.
The trend is largely driven by the younger generations who are more keen on health and well-being. The ongoing pandemic has also brought further focus on healthy choices resulting in growing popularity for the NoLo category.
The trend is likely to continue onto the festive Christmas season as a survey by Tesco found that many 18 to 34 year olds are planning to serve low or non-alcoholic beverages in their celebrations.
What does being alcohol-free mean to people?
United States of America (USA)
Movendi Internatonal has previously reported about the sober curious movement’s growth in the USA and about American youth opting to remain alcohol-free for longer.
A recent survey of 2000 American millennials between 21 to 39 years of age found that the alcohol-free category is growing in the United States during the pandemic. According to data,
- 52% of respondents increased consumption of alcohol-free beer and mocktails during COVID-19;
- 61% consumed alcohol-free beer during COVID-19 citing that they want to reduce their alcohol use; and
- 61% reported they would be more likely to go out to a bar if they knew it offered alcohol-free beer.
In line with the other countries, younger Americans who are driving the alcohol-free trend are more health and well-being conscious. The survey found that the average respondent was interested in healthy food choices, exercise and work-life balance.
The Sydney Morning Herald: “‘Not preaching’: alcohol-free brewers hope to change drinking culture“
The Guardian: “Low and no-alcohol sales soar 30% in lockdown as UK drinking habits change“
Beverage daily.com: “Heineken consumer study: Millennials are turning to alcohol-free beer during COVID-19“