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Bartenders drive low-and-no category

More than four in five bars plan to increase their ranges of low-and-no drinks in 2023 to capitalise on consumers’ interest in healthier drinking, new research has showed.

78% of bartenders believe the low-and-no category adds new occasions to people’s drinking habits

In the Leading the Way in No/Low Spirits report, produced by CGA by Nielsen IQ and non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ brand Crossip, it was revealed that two-thirds (67%) of bar professionals have increased their offering of low-and-no alcohol in the last 12 months, with nine in 10 bars now offering no or low-alcohol drinks.

Crossip founder Carl Anthony Brown said: “It’s clear from this report that bars are rapidly expanding and improving their low-and-no alcohol menus.

“The days of a single alcohol-free beer in the fridge or ‘spirit’ on the back bar are long gone, and low-and-no options now stand toe-to-toe with their alcoholic counterparts in the range and variety they offer. Bartenders are driving a revolution in drinking out, and we at Crossip are proud to be supporting them with this research.”

The report highlights the role that bartenders and bar professionals are playing in the continued rise of the low-and-no category.

Brown added: “While it may seem bars, hotels and restaurants may respond to consumer demand, we know that those in the front- and back-of-house control where drinks and drink trends are created. They are the true purveyors of the low-and-no message to consumers.

“With 88% of on-trade venues now offering low-and-no alcoholic alternatives, we believe that there is no one as well-versed in the category as these hospitality professionals.”

The report found that 75% of bartenders surveyed consumed low-and-no alcohol drinks, with 88% saying they feel ‘confident’ that they could effectively market and sell no-and-low products in their bars.

Dave Lancaster, client director at CGA, added: “Bar professionals are helping to make the low-and-no alcohol category one of the most dynamic parts of Britain’s drinking-out market.

“Alongside consumers’ rising awareness of the range of quality of drinks that are available, it puts this segment in prime position for more success throughout 2023.

“Understanding consumers’ needs, optimising range and innovating in flavours and serves will all boost bars in what is set to be another tough and competitive year.”

The report found that when it comes to stocking low-and-no alcohol beverages in venues, 44% of bartenders look for a variety of both complex products and replicates, such as 0% ABV ‘gins’, with a slight preference for unique, innovative products. This is in addition to 48% of those surveyed saying they prefer to include at least some smaller low-and-no brands in their offering.

Four in five (80%) bar staff agree that the primary target for low-and-no alcohol drinks are those who are not teetotal, and 78% think the category adds new occasions to people’s drinking habits, rather than replacing current ones.

In July it was reported that the UK low-and-no category is predicted to reach a value of £450 million (US$551m) by 2024.

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