More say yes to 'no' and 'low'

16 November, 2007

Non-alcoholic lager sales grew 9 per cent to £12 million in the year to October, despite volumes growing just 3 per cent to 68,000hl.

That may be

only a 0.4 per cent share of the total lager market, but a 9 per cent rise in a stagnant market is not to be sniffed at. The brands themselves may be too small to show up on Nielsen's rankings so far, but there is no doubt that alcohol-free versions of Cobra and Beck's, and lower alcohol beers such as Carling C2, are starting to make a name for themselves.

Brewers and retailers are talking about lower and no-alcohol products more than ever before, and they say it's because of customer demand -

not just because of the growing anti-alcohol movement in the government and media.

But non-alcoholic ales - yes, they do exist - aren't on the map yet. Whether British brewers, many of whom are very traditionally-minded, will do more to tap into this growing market remains to be seen - but they have a very long way to go to catch up with non-alcoholic lager.

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English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

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