Great Northern Zero goes national amidst No-Lo bullishness

Great Northern zero cans

As industry bullishness around alcohol-free beer grows, Great Northern has today announced it is taking its non-alcoholic brand extension national.

Great Northern’s Lauren Fildes said the country’s largest beer brand’s foray last year into the non-alcoholic beer market reflected the booming demand amongst Australians for alcohol-free beer options.

“Zero alcohol beer has grown by 87 per cent throughout 2020 and is continuing to grow, with that part of the market expected to be worth $135 million by 2025,” she said.

Recent media reports quoted IRI data suggesting the category was valued at $4.5 million nationally in the 2020 calendar year, it’s expected to jump to $15 million in 2021.

Endeavour Drinks Group has said its sales of non-alcoholic drinks have more than doubled, increasing by 100 per cent in the 12 months to May, with beer being the biggest non-alc sub-category.

Non-alcoholic beer was also recognised for the first time at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards.

Lauren Fildes said the move to take the beer national came after trialling it in Queensland and the Northern Territory over the past few months.

“Within four months of launching, it became the number one non-alcoholic beer there and now beer lovers all over Australia will be able to enjoy it too,” she said.

The announcement contained ABS data showing Australians are increasingly moderating their alcohol intake and research released this year predicts demand for low and no alcohol beverages in ten key countries, including Australia, will continue to grow in the next five years.

“Consumers have become more conscious of what they consume, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Men and women are both seeking non-alcoholic beer with the strongest demand coming from those aged 25 to 45,” Fildes said.

While the market for ultra low alcohol beer is growing, it is a very crowded market.

Former Brews News editor and host of the AIBA-winning Drinks Adventures podcast, James Atkinson, recently told the Sydney Morning Herald the market was becoming increasingly crowded.

“Non-alcoholic beer in particular has been massive in Europe for a long time,” he said.

“In recent years everyone has jumped on the bandwagon, but I am yet to be convinced that the market justifies the number of products coming out at the moment.”

“It will be interesting to see how many of the new products still exist in five years’ time.

“CUB claims to have sold 3.2 million litres of Carlton Zero in its first 12 months, yet the Australian beer market produces 1.7 billion litres each year. That’s just 0.18 per cent of the market, and they would probably spill more Carlton Draught on the ground than that.

“It’s definitely a trend, but still very early days,” Atkinson said.

With low alcohol beer marketing being a target for complainants to ABAC, Great Northern stressed in its release that despite being non-alcoholic, Great Northern Zero is marketed to adults in strict accordance with the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.

Great Northern Zero will be available in cans and bottles, six-packs or cartons of 24 and stocked in supermarkets, cafes, bars, hotels and bottle shops throughout Australia.

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