‘Sober curious’ movement offers ‘opportunities’ for bars

9th August, 2019 by Amy Hopkins

The ‘sober curious’ movement in the US presents “both a challenge and an opportunity” for bars and restaurants as 66% of millennials seek to reduce their alcohol intake, according to analysts at Nielsen.

Millennials are driving the ‘sober curious’ movement

Nielsen data shows that on average 47% of US consumers over the age of 21 are making efforts to cut back on alcohol consumption, citing health, weight loss and cost as their primary reasons for doing so.

Of the millennials who said they are endeavouring to cut down on drinking, 43% said they are doing so for health reasons, 31% to save money price, 27% to lose weight, 19% because they had a bad experience, 16% to ‘raise money’ and 14% due to ‘reputation’.

Nielsen states that just over one in five Americans participated in Dry January this year, with 83% of participants saying they will take part in the campaign next year too.

As the health and wellness trend continues to grow with initiatives such as Sober September, Nielsen says “demand for beverages with no- and low-alcohol content is rising”.

In the last year alone, retail sales of non-alcoholic beverages have posted growth of US$1.1 billion, and the category is now worth US$7bn more than four years ago. No- and low-alcohol beer is the “fastest growing beer-type” in the US, according to Nielsen, with a value of around US$77bn.

Fermented beverage kombucha, which has been growing in popularity in the bar world, is the second fastest-growing non-alcoholic beverage in the States, following energy drinks.

“As with any category or industry, change doesn’t mean that a revenue stream has evaporated,” said Nielsen. “For bars and restaurants that don’t adapt to shifting preferences, however, the outlook will be far less bright.

“Near-beers, premium soft drinks, mocktails, low- and non-alcoholic options, kombuchas and botanical tinctures all offer a wealth of opportunity for on-premise establishments to experiment with and promote to consumers.”

Some of the world’s largest distillers are endeavouring to meet consumer needs by moving further into the non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ sector.

Earlier this week, Diageo announced it had increased its ownership in Seedlip to a majority stake, while Pernod Ricard expanded its footprint in the category with the launch of Celtic Soul in the UK.

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