Big Beer Ups Investment In Nonalcoholic Brews

Several global beer corporations believe there’s untapped potential in nonalcoholic beer.

So reports the Wall Street Journal. A recent article in the paper says that Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken and Carlsberg are increasing their investment — and shifting their branding strategies — for nonalcoholic beer.

Brews must be no more than 0.5% ABV to be qualified as such.

Exact investments from each companies were not disclosed. However, the WSJ article found that Carlsberg planned on doubling its volume of nonalcoholic beer from 6% to 12% by 2022, while AB In-Bev wants to raise its worldwide volume to one fifth, up from just 6%. Brands benefitting from this volume push include Budweiser Prohibition Brew, 0.0% MAXX and Nordic.

“Nonalcoholic beer is growing three times faster than the overall beer market and offers some excellent margin opportunities,” says Carlsberg Chief Executive Cees’t Hart in the WSJ piece.

Reimagined branding will portray these nonalcoholic beer as a sober alternative for fitness/outdoor activities. Ads will likely depict people hiking, running, or engaged in other physical activities while enjoying these products. The idea is to tap into the market for healthier lifestyles.

There is nowhere to go but up. Nonalcoholic brews represents only 0.3% of the overall beer market in the U.S., the WSJ reports, and 0.7% globally.

Consumers remain skeptical. Besides sounding like an oxymoron, nonalcoholic beer has a reputation as watery and flavorless. But the WSJ reports that the corporations believe they can greatly improve the flavors of nonalcoholic beers with new technologies.

Whether this works in America will be seen. Nonalcoholic beer is much more popular overseas, the WSJ article reports, in stricter Muslim countries, or European countries like Spain and Germany, where it commonly goes with tapas or sporting activities.

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