Sales in the non-alcoholic drinks category surged by 1,200% between November 2018 and January 2019, according to figures released by Musgrave MarketPlace.

The significant and speedy jump in sales has been fuelled by initiatives such as ‘Dry January’, and the increasing emphasis on health and wellness among consumers. Low alcoholic beverages is seen as a key trend for 2019, as highlighted by the launch of Diageo’s Pure Brew Lager, the popularity of Heineken 0.0, and the opening of The Virgin Mary bar on Dublin’s Capel St, the first non-alcoholic cocktail bar in Ireland.

Last November, Musgrave MarketPlace launched a pilot scheme for a dedicated low and non-alcoholic section in three of its brances, the first wholesaler in Europe to do so, with a view to rolling the initiative out across the entire network during 2019.

Commenting on the increased popularity of low and non-alcoholic alternatives, Stephen Duffy from the Press Up Group said: “We have seen an increase in demand for Low Abv and non-alcoholic drinks over the past few months, but it has really taken off with the ‘Dry January’ campaign. The taste profile of non-alcoholic beers has improved so much in the past 12 months with options like Heineken 0%, that customers feel that they’re getting the benefits of beer without the hangover.

“We haven’t seen a reduction in our alcohol sales because of this trend but instead we’ve seen an increased number of occasions that people can drink non-alcoholic beer.”

Sheena Forde, Trading Director, Musgrave MarketPlace, said: “At Musgrave MarketPlace we are focused on anticipating what the latest trends will be in the foodservice industry and ensuring that we are offering the best range to our customers.

“The demand for low and non-alcoholic drinks has been on the rise over the last year and it is set to increase further, so it made sense for us to take the initiative and create a dedicated section for this category. We were the first in Europe to do this and the results to date have been phenomenal. At present we have dedicated sections in three of our branches and we will continue to expand this over the next year. This isn’t a trend that is going away. We predict double-digit growth in this category over the next 12 months as a result of new product launches and innovations.”

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