The Drinks Blogger NI

Zero to Hero

by Ciaran Meyler, wine manager, United Wines

Zero to Hero

Ciaran Meyler

Zero to Hero

2019 saw a massive increase in the range of non-alcoholic drinks available, across all beverages; beer, cider, wine and spirits. Innovation and the assistance of modern technology has meant that the quality of products has increased dramatically. So much so that almost every major drinks producer is now scrambling to satisfy the huge consumer demand for no or low alcoholic drinks.

A big success story for 2019 was undoubtedly the continued growth of Heineken 0.0%, in particular as it is now available in draught format. Heineken’s newest draught dispense innovation, called Blade, has been installed in the SSE Arena, the Kingspan Stadium and several other bars, which already are reporting a high rate of sale.  With Heineken leading the way in 0.0, this was soon followed by the launch of Birra Moretti Zero and Old Mout Berries and Cherries Alcohol Free.

Kate Jenkins, marketing director for Kam Media, writing in the 2020 Wine & Spirit Trade Association Report states: ‘Like it or not, UK adults are drinking less. 1-in-4 UK adults now claim to be tee-total and 40% of UK adults who do drink alcohol, intend to drink less in 2020.’ The drivers are mainly health-related reasons, but saving money also plays a significant part. No surprise then that ‘low or no’ variants are growing at an impressive rate in the on-trade (less so in the off-trade) and offer consumers an alternative choice on ‘low or no’ alcohol nights out. In fact, our research found that 75% of those taking part in Dry January expected non-alcoholic alternatives to help them get through the month.

With the beer market now leading the non-alcoholic beverage category, I think 2020 will be the year for non-alcoholic wine and the size of the prize has never been bigger. UK customers spent £48m on alcohol free-wine in the last year. (12 m/e Kantar Worldpanel Alcovision Data 30.06.18). Eisberg has been the leading non-alcoholic wine for many years with a great range of varietals including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rose and two sparkling wines. Sales have increased by over 28% in 2019.

Earlier this year saw the launch of the McGuigan Zero range. These wines have been five years in the making. After experimenting with low alcohol drinks such as Delight, Neil McGuigan soon realised the consumer was looking for a quality wine with zero alcohol. So he challenged his wine-making team to come up with an exceptional wine that would still have varietal character after all the alcohol was removed. The range offers an unparalleled alcohol-free experience both on the nose and palate. Launching with Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and sparkling, the range will later be expanded with further popular varietals, making it the most comprehensive zero-alcohol wine range in the market.

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