Category on the Rise: Non-Alcoholic Wine, Beer, and Spirits
Driven by consumer desire for ‘better-for-you’ beverages and rise in product innovation, non-alcoholic categories are seeing rapid growth
Non-alcoholic (NA) wine, beer, and spirits alternatives are nothing new; non-alcoholic beer in particular has been produced for over a century. But this category has experienced marked growth in recent years, driven by consumers’ desire for “better-for-you” beverage options and innovation within the non-alcoholic beverage space.
While the NA beverage category remains small on Drizly, accounting for less than one percent of share across all sales, non-alcoholic wine, beer, and spirits have been among the fastest-growing subcategories year-over-year in their respective categories.
“Even if you drink alcohol, there’s a time and place for a really good non-alcoholic beer,” says Samantha Itzkovitz of Brooklyn Brewery, which has offered its non-alcoholic line, Special Effects, for several years. “We realized there was so much stigma surrounding non-alcoholic beers and beverages in the United States, especially surrounding taste, which led us to release a craft alcohol-free beer.”
Across the United States, the non-alcoholic market accounts for over $414 million in sales, according to data analytics firm Statista, and the market is expected to expand by over five percent per year from 2021 through 2026 as consumers continue to gain interest in functional wellness beverages. Drizly data supports this anticipated rise: 40 percent of respondents in Drizly’s 2021 consumer report cited lower ABV as a consideration factor when selecting beverages.
Leading drinks brands are noticing, too: Heineken has made a major investment with it’s alcohol-free Heineken 0.0, and Diageo acquired a majority share in Seedlip Spirits, the leading NA spirit brand on the market, in 2019.
Who is Drinking Non-Alcoholic Wine, Beer, and Spirits, and Where?
Combined with the growth of health and wellness products, younger consumers such as those in the Generation Z and millennial groups are propelling the NA trend forward, with a large portion of Gen Z survey respondents planning to reach for non-alcoholic drinks than previous generations.
“Younger generations are drinking less alcohol in general,” says Itzkovitz. “A lot of that comes from the desire to just get out there and be able to experience things without having the hindrance of alcohol or over-consumption, not to mention the even bigger macro trend of health and wellness. People are way more mindful of what they are putting in their bodies right now.”
Alcohol-free products also over-index compared to overall share in major metropolitan areas, including top Drizly markets such as New York City, Boston, Denver, and Los Angeles.
Inside the Top-Selling Non-Alcoholic Products
Among non-alcoholic categories, NA beer remains the largest, though it accounts for just .7 percent of total beer share. Since it has historically been the strongest NA category, NA beer has seen the smallest (yet still substantial) year-over-year sales growth at 200 percent. In 2021, NA spirits are leading non-alcoholic growth, with sales up 600 percent over 2020, while NA wine sales are up nearly 300 percent year-over-year.
Drizly’s Top-Selling Non-Alcoholic Brands, 2021 to Date
- Athletic Brewing Company
- Sutter Home Fre
- Brooklyn Brewery
Within the non-alcoholic beer category, major brands still dominate the 10 most popular SKUs, likely as a result of high consumer awareness and strong national availability. However, craft entrants to the category such as Lagunitas, Athletic Brewing, and Brooklyn Brewery are gaining ground.
Drizly’s Top-Selling Non-Alcoholic Beers, 2021 to Date
- Heineken Non-Alcoholic 0.0
- Athletic Brewing Run Wild Non-Alcoholic IPA
- Lagunitas IPNA
- Clausthaler Original Non-Alcoholic
- Brooklyn Special Effects Hoppy Amber Non-Alcoholic Brew
- Budweiser Zero Full-Flavored Zero Alcohol Brew
- Athletic Brewing Free Wave NA Hazy IPA
- Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Alkoholfrei
- Coors Non-Alcoholic Beer
- O’Doul’s Non-Alcoholic Amber
Though the NA spirits category is growing rapidly, it’s dominated by a few major brands: Seedlip, Ritual Zero Proof, and Lyre’s. Drizly’s top-selling NA wines reveal a similar trend; the top 10 list is entirely composed of the brands Ariel, Fre, and Grüvi.
Liz Paquette, Drizly’s head of consumer insights, believes the newfound diversity of craft NA products is propelling the category’s popularity. “Consumers now have far more choice in high-quality products that taste like traditional beer, wine, and spirits—just without the alcohol,” she says. “Product innovation, both from existing players as well as new brands entering the market is also helping to drive the category.”
Over 90 percent of Drizly’s retail partner network carries at least one or more NA option in their inventory, and that percentage has been steadily rising in recent years, says Paquette. In order to maximize sales for this category, Paquette recommends retailers begin by bringing in some of the top new non-alcoholic offerings onto the shelf. “Retailers should begin with stocking the top-selling brands,” she says. “It’s a good idea to offer products that are growing in consumer awareness, nationally such as Athletic Brewing Co, Seedlip, Ariel, or Fre.”
In addition to offering a curated offering to avoid overwhelming customers with new choices, Itzkovitz believes vocabulary is key when it comes to reaching new or curious audiences with NA offerings.
“With e-commerce, I think it’s about putting the information and flavor notes on the product and making those notes available to the consumer, so these products aren’t so mysterious,” she says. “Let them read the description and realize NA choices sound like the 7% ABV IPA they already have in their cart. I think treating NA options like beer and not like an ugly stepsister is how retailers can take advantage of this movement.”
The Future of Non-Alcoholic Wine, Beer, and Spirits
The trend in non-alcoholic beverages is likely to grow in the coming years, as health remains top of mind for consumers. According to the Hartman Group’s Functional Food & Beverage Report, more consumers than ever are adopting a “food as medicine” approach, increasing the demand for beverages that offer functional enhancements and wellness benefits, a trend that is “reshaping the food, beverage, and supplement industries.”
Drizly’s own data—showing consistent, year-over-year growth in the category—suggests this expansion could happen rapidly, as more consumers reach for NA options on a regular basis.
Itzkovitz cites Europe as a model for NA consumption that American consumers could emulate: “Non-alcoholic beverages are in a completely different status internationally—it’s very common for everyone to see and drink non-alcoholic beers. In the same way that it would be silly not to have an IPA and a pilsner, it’s becoming silly not to have an NA option.”