Excessive consumption

Addressing binge drinking - Non- and lower-alcohol beer availability

Non- and lower-alcohol beer availability


As part of the UK Government’s “Responsibility Deal” the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and other industry members signed up to a pledge on alcohol unit reduction which sought to help people drink within the recommended guidelines and foster a culture of responsible drinking by removing one billion units of alcohol from the market by Dec 2015, principally through improving consumer choice of lower alcohol products. The BBPA supported this pledge by promoting the lower alcohol beer category to consumers through the media, providing journalists with samples of a range of lower-alcohol beers, leading to several stories promoting lower-alcohol beer to consumers. The BBPA further assisted by communicating this pledge to its members and generating support across the brewing industry.

Responsibility Deal

There were 34 signatories to this pledge including 11 brewers, with evaluation done through the Public Health Responsibility Deal monitoring and evaluation group. The UK Government confirmed that the industry has met the target to remove a billion units of alcohol from the market ahead of the 2015 deadline through product innovation and the development of the lower-alcohol catogory. In total 1.3 billion units of alcohol were removed up to 2014, with brewers responsible for 1.2 billion of this amount. For example, by end March 2014, 155.7 million units had been removed by Heineken, including by offering consumers the new 2% ABV Foster’s Radlerfrom March 2013

The BBPA is now working with other partners representing different sectors of the on-trade to develop the pledge and encourage the promotion of lower alcohol products as widely as possible. As the BBPA also represents a number of pub companies, activities were able to include ensuring that the house wine available to customers was below 12.5% and stocking a wide range of lower-alcohol products and promoting them to customers. For tenanted and leased companies, a further activity includes featuring lower-alcohol products in tenant-facing magazines and online licensee portals, discounts and deals on lower-strength products, articles highlighting the customer demand for lower/no-alcohol drinks and permanent price offers on lower alcohol drinks.

Initiatives pursued within pubs to promote products to customers have included introductory prices to encourage people to try different drinks and in one case a ‘driver’s shelf’ in the fridge of non-alcoholic options around Christmas. BBPA organised a joint event with the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group and the Portman Group in March 2015 to highlight the achievements of the billion unit reduction pledge and showcase the range of lower and no alcohol drinks available. Those attending included MPs, journalists, the Public Health Minister and representatives from members companies.

The ‘There’s A Beer for That’ (TABFT) campaign showcasing the beer category has now taken over from BeerGenie in providing information to consumers about the range and choice in the beer category including non-alcoholic and lower-alcohol beers. TABFT has a detailed section on titswebsite outlining the characteristics and examples of non-alcohol beer. They regularly profile non-alcoholic and low alcohol brands as part of their promotional activity and held a successful version of the weekly ‘Beer Club’ Twitter event focussed on the non-alcohol beer category. In addition, they have developed a Twitter based ‘beer match’ tool, which suggests beers that pair well with food. The 1000+ beer database that matches are chosen from includes low and non-alcohol beer.


By 2014, 8 companies in BBPA membership produced beers up to 1.2% abv and 14 produced lighter beers (i.e. 1.2%-2.8%). In the UK in 2014, on-trade sales volumes of <1.2% abv beersin the UK were 2.3 million litres, and sales of 1.2-2.8% abv beers were at 2.7 million litres. From a survey of BBPA members, in total pub companies owning over 14,000 pubs have either actively promoted lower-alcohol products to their customers within their pubs or to their tenants, whilst companies owning 3,400 managed pubs have ensured that these lower strength beers are available in their pubs.


Since 2013 the Dutch Brewers have run a campaign to publicise the wide range of beer available: with alcohol, with a little alcohol (Radler) and with no alcohol. The consumer can choose the beer which best fits in their daily life and the occasion. The objective is to increase alcohol free beer consumption, particularly in relation to beer containing alcohol on occasions when alcohol consumption may not be appropriate.. Consumption of alcohol free beer and beer with 2% alcohol is rising. Heineken also has a program to promote non-alcoholic beer in restaurants which supports “Sustainable Partners in Business”. Since 2015 the sales department is able to offer several “green deals” for restaurant and café owners. While the emphasis is on sustainability, one of the “green deals” features the improvement of the 0.0%, the goal being to make the 0.0% segment a mature and accepted alternative to drinks with alcohol.


In 2012, as part of its annual local company-wide initiative to celebrate alcohol responsibility initiatives, ABInBev organised in Belgium a “Feet on the Street” initiative where about 75 colleagues distributed flyers on the responsible use of alcohol at several locations in Brussels and Jupiler Force and Hoegaarden 0.0 variants were available to taste.


In Sweden, Carlsberg organised an event in Malmö in July 2013 with a special focus on the company’s wide range of non-alcoholic beers, including Carlsberg NA and non-alcoholic Erdinger wheat beer. Its aim was to provide information for both industry and consumers.


In Slovenia, “You can drink 5 and you are not high” (“Spiješjih 5 pa nisi zadet”) is the main advertising campaign by Pivovarna Laskofor non-alcoholic Laško Malt that was launched in 2014. A wide range of advertising materials – ATL (TV, web banners, Facebook comunication…) & BTL (Different POS materials for Horeca and trade – posters, flyers,…) were produced and the campaign had strong impact on WOM (word of mouth) – without recall 10%, with recall 35%. All elements of brand perception were much higher after the campaign. In 2015 Igor Miki, a very confident, smart and funny guy, gave advice in videos on how to chat up another person and explored how younger and older people do this in different regions of Slovenia. In every video, Laško Malt is subtly present as a non alcoholic drink which is especially appropriate for those who want to have fun in a sober way. With more than 3 million people reached on Facebook, nearly 1 million views of all videos, 650 shares on Facebook, and nearly 5000 likes on Facebook, the campaign was a success. In 2015 Pivovarna Union started a campaign “Drink Responsibly” with Union non-alcoholic Radler, to make young people know what are the consequences of drinking too much, the line being “Drink different…do not cut you wings, do not complicate your life, do not lose the ground under your legs, do not leave your role”.


In Sweden, night patrols which create social security for young people in cities around Sweden were undertaken in partnership with Nattvandring. Carlsberg sponsors the initiative and takes an active part by having Carlsberg employees join in the nightshifts where adults walk around the night scenes where young people hang out, ensuring order and safety. In 2015, cooperation with the Nighthawks expanded to Carlsberg’s Green Door Project, which is a platform for nightlife events in Sweden. During the Green Door Project events, non alcoholic beer choice was provided and water bottles were handed out for free when guests were leaving.

Furthermore, Sweden’s Taste of Stockholm is an early summer festival that each year attracts hundreds of thousands of people with a shared interest in food and drink. During the first week of June, the downtown park Kungsträdgården, or “King’s Garden”, is transformed into a party with culinary sensations and performances by many well-known artists. Around 25 of Stockholm’s most exciting restaurants serve everything from the most traditional Swedish dishes to exotic creations from other parts of the world in the park. Carlsberg Sweden is the main beverage supplier for the event and in 2015 focused on promoting non-alcoholic beer as a responsible beverage to accompany different dishes. Carlsberg also organises each year an event in Malmö with a special focus on the company’s wide range of non-alcoholic beers. Its aim is to provide information for both industry and consumers. Between 2014 and 2015, the non-alcoholic category grew +30%. The Okorkat Christmas Campaign in 2015 was Carlsberg Sweden’s initiative to get more people to make smart and conscious choices when it comes to the consumption of alcohol during the Christmas season. The campaign highlighted that there is a beer for all occasions – with particular focus on non-alcoholic beer and responsible consumption. It was a 360 degree campaign, which included outdoor, on trade, digital and social media, as well as internal communication channels. Digital Reach was 2,020,000 impressions, with media reach at 35,000.


In Austria, research into alcohol-free and alcohol-reduced alternatives has led to the introduction of alcohol-reduced shandies “Zipfer Limetten Radler” and Gösser Natur Radler Kräuter” and an alcohol-free brand of “Edelweiss”. In coming years the research share dedicated to this topic will be increased, whilst 50% of Heineken Brau Union Austria’s innovation budget is used to develop new alcohol-reduced or alcohol-free products. In 2013, the company launched three products; Gösser Natur Gold (alc-free) and Zipfer Orangen-Radler (alc-reduced) and alcohol-reduced wheatbeer pear radler called “hoamataradler”. In 2014 the company launched “Gösser Kracherl”, an alcohol free radler.

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