Why the soft drink market is finally taking off

Participating in “Sober October” for the first time? You’re not alone.

Do a quick web search for the One Month Dry Challenge and you’ll get thousands of results, including strategies for staying sober, non-alcoholic drink recipes, and an ever-growing selection of beers, wines, and drinks. alcohol-free spirits.

This is a big change from just a few years ago and may have something to do with the alcohol exhaustion that came with the quarantine during COVID last year and a reassessment of many relationships. people with alcohol. These factors have combined to create the perfect opportunity for soft drinks to take a larger share of the beverage market.

According to data collected by Tastewise (a food and beverage data analysis group) and shared with Yahoo Finance, web searches for non-alcoholic beverages were up 47% from the same time period. last year after hitting an all-time low in April 2020. Tastewise also reported that mentions of non-alcoholic drinks in restaurants and bars were up 52% ​​from last year.

In May, marketing research firm Fior Markets estimated that the global soft drink market is expected to grow from $ 923 million in 2020 to over $ 1.7 trillion by 2028, with an annual growth rate. composed of 8.19%.

Tastewise also found that searches for alcohol-free wines increased 333% in January 2021 compared to January 2020. In August, Fact.MR published a study that found that by 2031 alcohol-free wines could be an industry. of $ 4.5 billion worldwide.

There are also more non-alcoholic drink options than ever before. In addition to beer and wine, consumers buy dry spirits, herbal remedies, and pre-mixed mocktails.

Orange on Orange, a non-alcoholic cocktail, in a glass on seamless white shot on June 7, 2016 in Washington DC. (Photo by Goran Kosanovic for the Washington Post via Getty Images)

This booming market is a far cry from just a few years ago, an industry expert told Yahoo Finance. Reynald Vito Grattagliano – founder of Arkay soft drinks, a line that includes alcohol-free vodka, gin, tequila and bourbon, and the American Alcohol Free Spirit Association – said the alcohol-free industry was so small in 2016, there were very few dry options on the market.

“At the time, there were only two players or competitors: Arkay, which started in 2011 and founded by myself, and Seedlip in 2015, funded by Diageo, who is the owner of Johnny Walker,” said Grattagliano told Yahoo Finance. “Diageo decided to put millions of dollars on the table to buy out Seedlip and also acquire Ritual Zero Proof, because they saw an opportunity to take control of the whole new sober industry.”

He now calls the alcohol-free market an explosive.

While non-alcoholic beer has been available for years, some of the biggest players in the industry are revamping their approach to soapy drinks.

Heineken had a head start in 2017 when it launched its non-alcoholic beer, 0.0, in Europe. The company reportedly spent 15 years developing the product. Non-alcoholic beer finally arrived in the United States in 2019.

“While alcohol-free beer has been around for decades, we saw an opportunity to breathe new life into the otherwise stagnant category,” Borja Manso Salinas, vice president of marketing for Heineken USA, told Yahoo Finance. “We put our master brewers to work to create a truly delicious non-alcoholic drink that would be welcome in the same social situations as the rest of our liquor portfolio. “

Their efforts paid off. Heineken’s alcohol-free 0.0 beer held nearly 21% of market sales for a 16-week period ending July 31, 2021, Salinas said.

Virgin Mary Bar, the first non-alcoholic bar to open in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Niall Carson / PA Images via Getty Images)

Virgin Mary Bar, the first non-alcoholic bar to open in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by Niall Carson / PA Images via Getty Images)

It’s not just a trend for the younger generations, however. Ask Holly Sprague and Megan Barnes Zesati. In January, the two longtime friends created Dry Together, a community designed especially for mature mothers looking to step away from the drinking culture created by what Sprague calls “happy hours.” zoom quarantini ”and being inundated with alcohol-related memes.

“We recently realized that we are both living alcohol-free in our forties, and when ‘mom needs wine to survive COVID’ memes proliferated, we were comforted by sharing our alcohol-free experiences as mothers in their 40s during the pandemic, ”Sprague told Yahoo Finance. “The Dry Together community grew out of these conversations. “

Sprague said they believe the group will stick around in January, and then dissipate as resolutions come to an end. But as the schedule shifted to February, members seemed to drag on.

“We assumed mothers would complete the dry month challenge and then go back to their lives, but we were surprised and thrilled at the number of mothers who said they wanted to do another month at the end of January. And then another and then another, ”Sprague said.

With another January just around the corner, interest continues to grow, Sprague said, and she and Zesati continue to change the stigma surrounding sober lifestyles and providing support to moms around the world.

At the start of this month’s dry challenge, Sprague said the group had around 50 paid subscribing members and around 1,200 Instagram followers. Dry Together not only offers Zoom Meetings to discuss how to live a dry month (or life), participate in virtual book clubs and Pilates classes, and chat with peers in forums.

In addition to spirits and non-alcoholic wines, Sprague said members of Dry Together enjoy drinks containing herbal supplements like adaptogens and nootropics that help the body manage stress and improve cognitive function.

“Dry Together strives to slowly create a more inclusive world where it’s just as normal not to drink as it is to drink,” Sprague said. “We don’t need a doctor to tell us that drinking is bad for us at this age. We need better solutions to the problems that make us want to drink and more support in our choices not to drink.

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