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.