“When my debut single [Bleeding Love] went to number 1, I celebrated with non-alcoholic champagne,” Leona Lewis told Glamour U.K.

In March, as the first national lockdown kicked in, BBC reported no-lo drinks sales were up 30% since 2016 and with a 6% increase of 18-24 year olds saying they had gone teetotal in the last 12 months, a huge boost to the beverage market. Millennials have a big say in the boom in sales of low and no alcohol drinks.

And sales are increasingly driven by industry influencers. We are reminded of other celebrities and big names who don’t drink. Andy Murray, the tennis champion, is one. Jennifer Lopez is another. The actress Rumer Willis told her followers on Instagram “my decision to become sober wasn’t out of a need necessarily, it was more just that I did ‘sober January’ and I just decided to keep going.”

Warners Distillery and Seedlip spokespersons explained that the rise is also due to the innovation they have put into creating a higher quality product. They explained to The Drinks Business that it has taken years of experimentation to come up with a ‘shelf-stable’ product and more ‘high quality’ options as initial entrants to the category lacked both characteristics.

If the Keanes want to organise a drunken booze party at their East London brewery, they need to buy in the drinks because their produce does not exceed 0.05% abv. Becky Keane, co-founder of Nirvana, the UK’s first non-alcoholic brewery, describes the process in this video.  She sees Baby Boomer and Generation X customers as the bulk of their customer base, bucking the trend across the no-lo industry. People who thirst for the craft beer taste and want to preserve that experience without having the alcohol intake, are key to their success.

Dry January started in 2013 with 4,000 people on board. Since then, it’s ramped up, with over 100,000 signing up and a 4 million strong group taking part in 2020. Now AlcoholChange have launched ‘TryDry: the Dry January app’ and those hankering after a glass of their favourite bubbly to see the New Year in can be found frequenting the zero and low alcohol shelves of their local supermarket or increasingly, going online to try out the latest no-low beverage their mates are toasting with.

Brand owner Tommy Johnstone of non-alcoholic botanical spirit, Optimist outlined it perfectly.  “2020 was quite a year for everyone, but it has made us even more determined we’re doing the right thing, and creating a product that people need.  2021 is the year of optimism.” So, cheers to an even greater 2021 for the no-lo crowd!


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