Alcohol-free beer consumption rises during corona
Regular beer consumption has dropped by 8% since a year ago, but people have been more likely to crack open an alcohol-free beer, reports NU.nl.
Figures provided by Nederlandse Brouwers beer sector organisation suggest that year-on-year alcoholic beer consumption has dropped, but 3% more alcohol-free beer has been consumed.
The brewing organisation provided ‘moving annual total’ beer consumption figures from August to July, in the past two years. Although in the more recent period, the Dutch drank 10.6 milion hectolitres of beer in total, sales of lager were 8% down on the previous year, due to the closure of bars and restaurants.
Alcohol-free beer, which represented more than 739,000 hectolitres of drinks from August 2020 to July 2021 and 7% of the total, increased in popularity, while beer mixes such as Radler shandy sold 360,000 hectolitres.
In an annual survey of 1005 Dutch adults, the organisation also found that 45% of Dutch say they drink beer at least once a week (down from 48% in 2016), with a particular drop in male drinking. Only among 18 to 29 year olds is beer increasing in popularity.
However, 52% of people said they had drunk non-alcoholic beer at least once a month, up from 47% in previous years. When asked why, they said they liked the taste, and also wanted to avoid alcohol. Lager was still the most popular type of beer.
Beer makers worldwide have reported a mix year, with a recovery of sales when bars reopened. In recent years, alcohol-free beers (which are not liable for alcohol tax) have been a strong source of revenue for companies such as Dutch brewer Heineken.
A spokesman for Nederlandse Brouwers confirmed the figures and said it was a surprise that alcohol-free beers had sold so well. ‘People had to stay at home and didn’t have to drive, so it is surprising,’ he said. ‘It shows that alcohol-free beers are continuing to grow.’
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