Young snub booze as alcohol-free options grow in popularity
- Credit: Anthony Cullen/Adnams
No alcohol is consumed in nearly a third of all visits to the pub, with young people driving a trend towards drinking in moderation, new research has showed.
The figures, from hospitality research company Kam, revealed 29% of pub trips were now completely dry, along with 37% of restaurant meals.
Overall, alcohol consumption across the country has fallen in recent years as many drinkers look to reduce their intake or cut out the booze for good due to health reasons or a desire to have more time to enjoy other pursuits.
Young people (aged between 16-24) are the least likely to drink, according to charity Drink Aware, with 26% of that age group teetotal.
Kam’s annual report, published on Monday, found that 55% of drinkers were actively trying to cut down on the booze, with that percentage rising to 65% among drinkers in their twenties and late-teens.
Low or no-alcohol alternatives have seen a boom in recent years, and Katy Moses, the managing director of Kam, said: "The growth in popularity of the alcohol-free category isn’t primarily driven by those who never drink alcohol, but rather the huge number of Brits who simply want to moderate their intake and are looking for a great-tasting alternative.”
Fergus Fitzgerald, production director at Southwold-based Adnams, said the company has introduced new low or no-alcohol options to give people more choice.
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He said: "We started doing lower alcohol beers quite a long time ago but the main push has been since we started making Ghost Ship 0.5% in 2018 with a view to giving an option to people who still liked the taste of beer but either wanted to cut down or take the alcohol out altogether.
"We wanted to be able to offer something that was akin to a beer that they already knew, which is why we invested in the kit that we did to make Ghost Ship 0.5%.
"We know people enjoy the flavour of Ghost Ship and that had become our main brand by 2018 so that was why we chose that beer and tried the replicate the flavours as close as we could."
Adnams also makes low alcohol cider Wild Wave, and has recently introduced Smidgin - which is designed to be served in half-a-teaspoon measures with 200ml of tonic for a lower alcohol experience.
Mr Fitzgerald added that pubs should have "a grown-up offering".
"We want people to go to the pub and enjoy going to the pub, with all the socialising and all the good things that we talk about with regard to pubs being the epicentre of communities," he said.
"But actually if, for whatever reason, people are choosing to abstain or reduce their alcohol, there should be a grown-up offering at the pub.
"The older option that you can have a soft drink was never particularly well-suited to the pub. They are nice, sugary drinks and you can have one but you don't really want to have another.
"Whatever we're trying to do, it's really about the flavour, we're trying to make sure people are not penalised for not drinking alcohol so you get all the enjoyment you would from a normal alcoholic drink."