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Forget craft beer. The next craze is non-alcoholic brews

When craft beer super fan Steve Dass gave up alcohol for health reasons, he went looking for a quality non-alcoholic ...

Posted: Feb 9, 2018 7:51 PM
Updated: Feb 9, 2018 7:51 PM

When craft beer super fan Steve Dass gave up alcohol for health reasons, he went looking for a quality non-alcoholic substitute.

He couldn't find one, so he started his own brewery.

"When I ... started talking about it to friends and investors, they asked whether I've bumped my head or something," said Doss.

But Dass was onto something: His Nirvana Brewery in London now brews 3,200 liters of low and alcohol-free beer a week, and he sells to stores such as Whole Foods.

It's still a very niche segment, but big brewers are scrambling to get in on the action.

That's because drinkers are turning to brews that don't come with a buzz. They're increasingly worried about the health risks associated with alcohol.

Global consumption of traditional beer dropped in 2015 and 2016. But the market for non-alcoholic beer grew 5% in 2016, according to research firm Euromonitor International.

Soda wars: The UK's tax on sugary drinks is working

Anheuser-Busch InBev, which launched non-alcoholic versions of Budweiser and Corona in 2016, predicts that low or alcohol-free beer will make up a stunning 20% of its production volume by 2025.

Heineken released a competitor -- Heineken 0.0 -- last May and Guinness owner Diageo followed suit in January with Open Gate Pure Brew.

Carlsberg, which has been producing alcohol-free beer since 2015, expects revenue for that product to grow three times faster than overall beer sales.

Brewers are responding to changing consumer tastes, but there's another powerful incentive driving the trend: Non-alcoholic beer generates 1.5 times more revenue because there's no alcohol tax to pay.

Stuart Elkington opened Dry Drinker, an online store selling non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirits, when his doctor suggested he stop drinking alcohol to improve his fitness.

He gave it a shot for six months and felt great.

"I lost a bit of weight, I started running again ... but I missed that 'ahh' moment on a Friday night, when you've had a really busy week and just wanted a beer," he said.

He thought there must be other people like him -- "forty, young kids, wanted to lose a bit of weight."

But he was surprised to find the market is much wider than that.

"Our customers are the girls getting together when they have to work in the morning, the baby shower crowds, the guys training for marathon, dinner parties when someone has to drive," he said.

His business, which launched just 18 months ago, now has five full-time employees.

Related: Is the taxman coming for your steak?

Producers still have to convince drinkers that 0% beer has its merits.

"The reputation is terrible ... but with the availability of hops we can get from around the world, there is no need for non-alcoholic beer to be boring," Dass said.

Advertising language is already becoming more positive, according to Euromonitor International. Ads tout what the beer has to offer in terms of flavors and natural ingredients, while steering away from its lack of alcohol.

Research firm Mintel said drinkers are becoming more open to the idea of non-alcoholic beer, with 33% of Spaniards and 23% of Germans already drinking it on occasion. A German brewer, Erdinger, offers every runner in the Berlin marathon an alcohol-free pint when they cross the finish line.

Heineken said the alcohol-free beer market is growing 9% a year in the U.K.

"When people taste non-alcoholic beer, the first thing they say is 'it tastes like beer!' and I have to remind them that it is a beer. They can't get their head around it," Elkington said.

-- Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated AB InBev's predictions for non-alcoholic beer.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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