- Manufacturers are producing alcoholic beverages that align with consumers' demands for better-for-you products.
- One push is to create low- and nonalcoholic beverages that broaden the market to consumers who don't drink or want to cut back on their alcohol intake while still enjoying the flavor of a beer or cocktail.
- Another initiative is updating ingredients to reflect trends seen in other food and beverage categories, such as gluten- or allergen-free, vegan, low-sugar, or free of high fructose corn syrup.
Alcoholic beverage manufacturers tend to be later adopters of health-related trends because consumers often see it as an indulgence they don't expect to be good for them. However, as the trend continues, manufacturers have to keep up or risk losing consumers who find "healthier" alternatives.
Major manufacturers have made various moves and commitments to align with better-for-you drinking habits. Anheuser-Busch InBev committed to making low- and nonalcoholic beer comprise 20% of its global beer volumes by the end of 2025, up from less than 9% in 2014. Heineken and Carlsberg have committed to making similar changes to their portfolios.
Previously, low- and nonalcoholic beer hadn't taken off, but demand has increased as consumers' priorities and health concerns have shifted. The global market for this segment jumped 19% to $9.96 billion last year from $8.37 billion in 2010, according to data from Euromonitor.
The same "better-for-you" trend has occurred among distilled spirits brands. Diageo's accelerator Distill Ventures recently acquired a minority stake in U.K.-based nonalcoholic spirits producer Seedlip. This is the first time the accelerator invested in a nonalcoholic brand of distilled spirits. Diageo is also experimenting with an almond milk version of its Baileys liqueur, which would be dairy- and gluten-free, and the company debuted a line of its Smirnoff vodka sweetened with fruit juice rather than high fructose corn syrup.
Aside from the products themselves, alcoholic beverage manufacturers are embracing another priority of health-conscious consumers: labeling. A number of beer producers recently agreed to voluntarily label ingredients and nutrition facts on their packaging, and Diageo began doing the same for its Crown Royal brand last October.