Brooklyn Brewery enters dynamic alcohol-free beer category

Brooklyn Brewery is bidding to capitalise on the growing demand for alcohol-free beer by launching Brooklyn Special Effects into the UK market.

The 0.4% abv brew is said to retain a bready sweetness and bitter finish as the team decided to dry hop with Citra and Amarillo.

The beer has already launched in Sweden and distributor Carlsberg UK believes it can carve out a strong share of the growing alcohol-free beer market on our shores.

“There has been a clear cultural shift in the UK towards moderation, with drinkers seeing low and no alcohol options as more ‘socially acceptable,” said marketing director Jonathan Dee. “This has created an opportunity for non-alcoholic alternatives from trusted and recognised brands.”

Long gone are the days when Becks Blue dominated the market and there was little choice beyond that. Carlsberg UK also has San Miguel 0.0% in its portfolio, while many other leading brewers have jumped on the bandwagon.

While Brooklyn Special Effects is 0.4% abv, that is still classed as alcohol-free, as that is the sort of alcohol level you might find in everyday drinks like orange juice.

Brewdog’s Nanny State is 0.5% abv and it is now the fourth bestselling beer in this category, according to IRI data.

Becks Blue is still the market leader, with a 34.9% market share. Sales are broadly flat at £17.2 million for this popular brew. Brand owner AB InBev has also launched Budweiser Prohibition Brew, which is up to fifth in the chart, with annual sales of £3.7 million.

Heineken launched a £6 million marketing campaign for its 0.0% abv variant last year and it is now the second bestselling beer in this category, with annual sales of £8 million. A category stalwart, Bavaria Non Alcoholic, is third, with £6.2 million in annual sales.

Erdinger Non Alcoholic is sixth in the chart and St Peter’s Without, Warsteiner Fresh, Cobra Zero, Franziskaner Weissbier, Estrella Free Dam, Adnams Ghost Ship Alcohol Free, St Peter’s Without Gold, Shandy Carib, Open Gate Pure Brew, Infinite Session Pale, Kaliber, Brewdog Raspberry Blitz and Big Drop Pale Ale complete the top 20.

Many of them are new launches, and we have recently seen the likes of Peroni Libera join the market, so there are no signs of this dynamic category slowing down any time soon.

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