The low and no-alcohol beer sector is predicted to grow at least 6% each year in the UK to 2023, according to the latest research by IWSR.

The drinks data group said low and no-alcohol beer currently accounts for 2% of the total UK beer market and this is the sector which is driving growth in low and no-alcohol, with a raft of brewers investing in new techniques and product innovation. 

Emily Neill, chief operating officer at IWSR, said the predicted growth of 6% for this market is in “marked contrast to the total beer market, which we forecast to be flat or even slightly declining across the same period”.

In recent weeks alcohol-free beer producer Big Drop Brewing announced it is turning to crowdfunding to accelerate growth. The company, which claims to be “the world’s first dedicated alcohol-free craft brewer” sold more than one million bottles of beer in 2019, and it now hopes to raise money to help expand further in the UK and overseas. 

Also this year, Drygate Brewing introduced a citrus alcohol-free beer, created to “boost battered immune systems across the UK”, while Brewdog hit the national headlines by increasing its range of alcohol-free beers and trialling these at its new alcohol-free bar in London. 

Looking ahead, product innovation is likely to be driven by drinks that position themselves as “healthy” alternatives to their alcoholic counterparts, according to IWSR. This includes products that curtail their carbohydrate, calorie, artificial ingredients and/ or sugar content. Gluten-free and vegan alternatives are likely to drive further category interest.

She added: “In North America a plant-based theme is trending with agave-based spirits, cannabis or CBD-infused products and botanical ranges doing particularly well. Consumers are also wanting more transparency over how their products are made, which is why natural products are sure to be a hit in the European market, which is seeing growth in more selective and mindful drinking.”