Historically, the category of non-alcoholic beers was not very exciting. They were consumed by default, and their flavors remained disappointing, too often reminiscent of the coolness of adolescence. The market is finally turning out to be sexier. The number of beer brands that have entered the niche has exploded, and supermarkets can now devote an entire shelf to them. On the one hand, consumer expectations, especially 18-35 year olds, have become more pressing, with the desire for healthier consumption. On the other hand, new technological processes have made it possible to create more qualitative products.
Admittedly, alcohol-free beers do not have the same taste as if they had it, but they remain beers because they have the freshness and the marker of bitterness, especially with the addition of hops and malt, and thanks to the action of certain yeasts. Nevertheless, according to the testimony of the brewers, it is more difficult to produce an alcohol-free beer than with it, and this is the reason why it took several years to develop them.
2.6% of the market
Today, according to the International Wine and Spirit Record firm, occupying 2.6% of the market, “0%” beers still represent a minimal share of the sector. But the growth is promising: 15% in 2020, according to the delegate general of the brewers of France Maxime Costilhes, while its alcoholic equivalent was at half mast. An estimated 26% of non-alcoholic beer consumers are between 18 and 35 years old. If they get attached to this product and stick with that drinking habit and the next generation follows suit, the potential is huge.
“It was especially in 2017, with the launch of Heineken 0.0, that we started to develop better flavors. It has been possible to remove alcohol by evaporation without affecting the taste of the product. »Yoann Hellot, at Heineken
As this consumption is done more at home, it still remains discreet. However, Heineken was the first brand to make it visible by offering non-alcoholic draft beer to bars in 2018. A revolution. The group’s strategy is clear: its 0.0 beer can be found everywhere in the world where the brand is already present. For ten years, the international brands group leader at Heineken, Yoann Hellot, has been in charge of the non-alcoholic beers category.
After six years of research, the brand launched its flagship product: “It was especially in 2017, with the launch of Heineken 0.0, that we started to develop better flavors. It has been possible to remove alcohol by evaporation without affecting the taste of the product. Beer is brewed the same way, whether with or without alcohol, and that changes everything in terms of quality.. » At Heineken, the production of alcohol-free beers has tripled since 2017. “We expect a further increase of 25% in the near future”, underlines Yoann Hellot.
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