Maxing out on minimum alcohol beer
After a month of glutinous excess culminating in New Year’s Eve celebrations you may recognise the fragility of some of the guests in your bar next month following December’s over-indulgence.
The habit of Britons drinking to excess is on the wane, many studies concur. The past five years have seen growing numbers of consumers abiding by the principle of Dry January, a concept launched in the UK by Alcohol Concern in 2013.
But for visitors to a luxury bed & breakfast establishments, an alcohol-free month in January should be no bar to its participants joining in the fun with other revellers, owing to the abundance of alcohol-free beers.
A recent report from out-of-home food-and-drink sector research analyst CGA reveals that half the British population had been for a night out without drinking alcohol at least once in the previous six months, led by the younger generation.
Proportion of the population having a night out with no alcohol in the past six months
18 to 34 61%
34 to 55 53%
Over 55 42%
The stigma once attached to low or zero alcohol beer has abated over the years as a more mature approach to drinking has developed, encouraged by the wine and liquor market, which has adopted a comprehensive approach to responsible drinking.
Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows the proportion of adults who say they drink alcohol is at the lowest level on record.
In total, some 56.9% of those aged 16 and over had a drink in the week before being interviewed – a fall from 64.2% in 2005, the data shows.
According to the ONS 21% of adults do not drink alcohol at all, and among those not abstaining there are lower levels of drinking experienced among the rest of the population.
The figures also show that after decades of growing levels of binge drinking, young people are increasingly turning away from alcohol.
There’s been a definite shift in the last few years as consumers place more of a focus on health and wellbeing, which for beer and cider drinkers means moderation and making positive low-calorie drink choices, without compromising on taste. The low and no alcohol segment of the beer and cider category is seeing growth in terms of volume and value, with the recently launched Heineken 0.0 being responsible for 70% of the volume sales contributing towards that growth, findings illustrated by a CGA report in August 2017 on premise management data.
Recent research shows that:
50% of people now moderate their alcoholic intake
15% of consumers say they would visit pubs more often if there were better non-alcoholic drinks available
Only 47% of consumers were satisfied with the beer offering in the UK market, and they were looking for a trusted global premium brand to enter this segment with a better tasting product.
Heineken 0.0 was launched with a £2.5m marketing campaign to address the key category consumption barriers: taste perception and social stigmatism. It is brewed using only natural ingredients, including Heineken’s own A yeast, Heineken 0.0 contains just 69 calories and is defined by its refreshingly fruity notes and soft malty body, which is perfectly balanced with a short after-taste.
With a clear consumer need it’s important that you’re stocking alcohol-free alternatives that appeal during the festive period, and that you’re stocking low and no alcohol products from well-known brands. Heineken 0.0 is one such option. Popular since its launch, the new beer responds directly to those looking to moderate their alcohol intake, but still want great tasting beer as they more frequently attend social outings.
When you consider that a tenth of all wet volume in the on-trade (over £1.25bn) is delivered in the month of December, it’s vital that you prepare effectively so you can maximise the massive opportunity that this time of year presents. With plenty of reasons to celebrate, consumers are more likely to be out and about in the run-up to Christmas, but it’s important to remember that competition will be strong. Our advice to bar managers is to focus on creating a Christmas offer, then promoting it to drive people into your outlet, and preparing your staff so that they can deliver efficient service and a great experience. Ultimately, you want to bring more people into your outlet, encourage them to stay longer, spend more and come back.
It’s important to review your range and to ensure you are stocking options to suit all your customers, including those looking to moderate their alcohol consumption, or abstain completely.
It may sound obvious, but making sure your regular customers and everyone in the local area is aware of any special events or seasonal specials on the menu, is absolutely crucial to getting more people through your bar door. Create a festive atmosphere, whether that’s through decorations or real fires depends on your venue and customers, but make it clear inside and outside that your pub is a great place for a drink, some food and to relax in the busy holiday season. Keeping your website and social media channels up-to-date will also help customers know exactly what is going on and entice them in.
If you’re not sure what to stock during the festive season, we offer our customers expert advice on ranging targeted specifically to their business, so contact your local Heineken team for help to ensure you can grow your business over the Christmas period.
Heineken says it recommends focusing on the below areas in order to drive sales and create quality experiences during the festive period:
Offer a Christmas menu and suggest beers to match seasonal dishes and drive extra spend
Get the ambience right – these days, we all know it’s not enough to just be a venue serving drinks – competition is tight and customers expect quality across the board, so make your Christmas décor really stand out!
Promote deals and special events well in advance. Print posters with a calendar of events you’re holding and place them in prominent positions. Use social media for promotion. Heineken Direct can be referenced for more advice – direct.heineken.co.uk
Book extra bar staff to reduce queuing when it comes to your busiest times. Offering table service or bucket deals can reduce queuing time at the bar
Regional low alcohol definitions
In the US, beverages containing less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) were legally called non-alcoholic, according to the now-defunct Volstead Act, enacted to carry out prohibition in the 1920s. Because of its very low alcohol content, non-alcoholic beer may be legally sold to minors in many US states.
In the UK the following definitions apply by law:
No alcohol or alcohol-free: not more than 0.05% ABV
Dealcoholised: over 0.05% but less than 0.5% ABV
Low-alcohol: not more than 1.2% ABV
In some parts of the EU beer must contain no more than 0.5% ABV if it is labelled “alcohol-free”.
So many to choose from
CGA Research reported this autumn that it had found consumers in the UK were drinking less but drinking better. Consumers’ appetite for premium drink, with pricier wines and spirits stocked in increasing levels by upmarket bars, is also reflected in the low alcohol market, with a steady growth in the range of alcohol-free lager. Techniques have also improved in the production of low alcohol beer. They key country to brew low alcohol beer is Germany.
German beer including many of the low alcohol variety is brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot – the German Beer Purity Law – which permits only water, hops, and malt as ingredients, and stipulates that beers, not exclusively using barley-malt such as wheat beer, must be top-fermented.
There is a vast and growing choice of premium light or zero alcohol beers and lagers to choose from. Luxury Bed & Breakfast magazine takes a look at what brews are available for you to populate your bar, and what some of the brands who provide these say about their beverages.
Erdinger Weissbräu low alcohol is an incredibly refreshing beer that is low in calories and rich in minerals. A pure wheat beer taste with an alcohol content of less than 0.5%. It is still large after several minutes and is impressively creamy. The nose is a soft wheat with hints of baking bread and clove
Alcohol Free & Low in Calories, best served chilled.
Like its mainstream companion, Cobra Zero compliments curry and spicy foods.
Bernard amber ale 0.5%
This multi-award winning non-alcoholic, semi-dark beer from the Czech Republic is produced using the original brewing procedure with pasteurization and has a rich amber colour. It is described as combining the harmony of a sweet caramel aroma with a pleasant bitter taste and, unusually for a low alcohol drink, is recommended for those who enjoy their beer on the dark side.
Brewdog Nanny state 0.5%
Brewing a full-flavoured craft beer at 0.5% is no easy task. Nanny State is described as being “packed with loads of centennial, amarillo, Columbus, cascade and simcoe hops, dry hopped to the brink and back and sitting at 45 IBUS”. With a backbone of eight different speciality malts, Nanny State promises to tantalise your taste buds and leave you yearning for more.
Clausthaler Low Alcohol Lager
Marke Clausthaler Premium Low alcohol Lager – A German Bohemian Pilsner Its strength is its taste highly popular in Germany.
This refreshing and natural isotonic lager is recommended by Krombacher as a thirst quencher after playing sport, or for those taking to your bed & breakfast bar after a long winter’s country walk. This low-alcohol beer is described as full of taste and has a vastly reduced calorie content. It also has the convincing Krombacher taste. Brewed with natural spring water, it enjoys cold, gentle fermentation and storage.
Schneider Weisse Wheat Beer 0.5%
Schneider & Sohn is a Bavarian brewery company founded in 1872 by Georg Schneider and his son, after they acquired the Weisses Brauhaus in Munich, the oldest wheat beer brewery in the city.
Kaliber Alcohol Free Lager
One of the minority of alcohol-free lagers and beers to come in a can, Kaliber is a premium alcohol-free lager from owner Guinness.
It is brewed as a full strength lager, and Kaliber sasys that only at the end of the brewing process is the alcohol actually removed.
Bitburger Lager 0.5%
Brewed exclusively in Bitburg, Germany since 1817.
Tradition and perfection are the rules that make Bitburger Premium low alcohol German Beer so special.
A combination of traditional brewer’s craft and state-of-the-art technology has not only created one of the world’s leading breweries, but also a world-renowned classic Pilsner.
Franziskaner Blutorange 0.5%
The full-bodied aroma of the Franciscan alcohol-free beer combined with the fruity taste of blood orange is the ideal drink for moments of excitement at any time of day.
Franciscan alcohol-free Blutorange contains vitamin C, B12 as well as folic acid.
It contains 55% alcohol-free wheat beer and 45% soft drink with blood-orange flavour.
Sagres Lager 0.5%
This Portuguese beer is light-bodied, refreshing and is sold on its flavour, said to be the same taste as its ‘full-alcohol’ big brother.
Another Portuguese beerCheers Preta is a Portuguese classic dark beer, with a creamy and very stable head. It has an aroma of cereals and caramel and is sweet and light.
Paulaner Weisse Wheat Beer 0.5%
Paulaner is a German beer with fewer calories than an apple spritzer and, says its brewers, without any compromises.
Heineken 0.0 Alcohol Free Beer
Brewing a great tasting 0.0% alcohol lager beer, is it even possible? Heineken’s master brewers started from zero and spent years exploring, brewing, and tasting before they finally created a recipe defined by its refreshing fruity notes and soft malty body – perfectly balanced.
It comes with the uncompromising Heineken characteristics that have been around since 1873: made with natural ingredients and Heineken’s unique A-Yeast. According to Heineken: “It wasn’t easy, but not impossible.”
Estrella Lager 0.0%
Full of flavour and with zero alcohol, Estrella is brewed with the same ingredients that are used to make alcoholic beer.
Thanks to an advanced technique called ‘vacuum distillation’, the percentage of alcohol is brought down to 0.0% without changing the beer itself in any way.
Fürstenberg Frei Lager 0.5%
Fürstenberg Frei Lager 0.5% is a pale yellow lager from the Black Forest in Germany.
This cracking beer is described as hoppy with a slightly fruity nose and an aroma of peppery hops with touches of barley sugar, which leads to a crisp, clean finish.
Veltins Lager 0.5%
Veltins is one of Germany’s premium low alcoholic Pilsner largers. It is brewed in Sauerland, near Dortmund, to the standards of the German Purity Law of 1516. According to the 1516 Bavarian law, the only ingredients that could be used in the production of beer were water, barley and hops.
Using natural spring water from its own mountain, Veltins has a superb delicately dry and clean palate with a fine carbonated body that gives a slight bitterness with a light citrus finish. 0.5% ABV
Malzbier is a form of sweet low alcohol (0-1%) beer that is brewed in Germany like normal beer but without fermentation. The yeast is added at about 0 Vitamalz from Maltz.