A sales high, no hangover

Non-alcholic beer is booming

Non-alcoholic beer may be anathema to beer enthusiasts, but sales are soaring. For the fourth consecutive year, sales of Labatt Breweries of Canada’s offerings—which currently include O’Doul’s, an imported de-alcoholized Beck’s and a 0.5-per cent version of Labatt Blue—are up more than 100 per cent. That’s a sharp contrast to Canada’s traditional beer market, which has experienced flat sales and a declining share of the alcoholic beverage market. And the growing popularity of non-alcoholic beer is a worldwide phenomenon; 2.2 billion litres were served in 2012, up 80 per cent in five years, according to The Economist. As the market grows, so does choice and the quality—Beck’s is made according to Germany’s beer purity law of 1516. And most have less than 100 calories a bottle. While many quaff non-alcoholic brews for religious reasons, two-thirds of Canadians buying the beers also drink alcohol, according to industry research—they just want beer without the buzz, or the extra calories.