‘Nolo' drinks are the next big thing - but what are they?

Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 5:33 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 5:33 pm

No and low (nicknamed 'nolo') alcoholic beverages are set to be the UK’s biggest alcohol trend for 2020, according to a new study.

This has been driven by 18 to 24 year olds drinking less alcohol, or switching to no or low-alcohol substitutes.

The annual British craft beer report - due to be published by small brewers’ trade body the Society of Independent Brewers (Siba) on 12 March - will reveal that one in three young adults have cut down on their alcohol consumption, while a record 23 per cent don’t drink at all.

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The popularity of this sector has knocked craft beer from the top spot, where it has reigned for the last five years.

What are ‘nolo’ drinks?

In the UK, producers can only label a product as “low alcohol” if it has an alcohol by volume (ABV) below 1.2 per cent. Alcohol-free products must be 0.05 per cent ABV or lower, and anything with an ABV of 0.5 per cent should be called “de-alcoholized".

Why are they so popular?

The annual British craft beer report said there has been a 30 per cent leap in sales of no or low-alcohol beers since 2016, with consumers increasingly expecting to have a wider range in pubs and bars.

A separate study by Euromonitor has shown that the UK market for no and low-alcohol beer has doubled in four years, with sales of £63m estimated for 2020.

The rise of the wellness movement is one of the driving forces behind this trend, with consumers now increasingly aware of the risks of excessive alcohol consumption, and more inclined to avoid booze or reduce their intake as a result.

Global campaigns to encourage moderate alcohol consumption are also influencing consumers’ drinking habits. The idea of intentionally lowering or cutting out alcohol consumption has even been marked by new terminology like “sober curious,” and “mindful drinking.”

“Low or no-alcohol beers have never been better and some of the best examples are made by small independent breweries,” said Neil Walker, spokesman for Siba.

“It’s a trend that shows no signs of wavering and means that people who choose not to drink, are driving or just want to cut down, now have plenty of tasty options.”