Beyond Dry January – Understanding the appeal of no/low to tap into younger consumers

With Dry January well underway, CGA by NIQ’s On Premise User Survey explores the growing popularity of the no/low drinks category with increasingly health conscious and adventurous consumers.
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A third (33%) of consumers have increased the frequency that they drink low and non-alcoholic alternatives in the past year, outpacing any other category when they’re out in bars, pubs, restaurants and other venues. Beer is still the most popular no/low option when drinking out (50%), followed by Mocktails (40%) and Virgin Cocktails (26%).


In addition, 48% of consumers have tried new drinks or brands across all categories in the past three months, demonstrating an appetite for innovative new offerings. Couple this with more consumers extending their Dry January drinking habits throughout the year, and it’s unsurprising the no/low category is seeing investment from brands and new products entering the market.


The no/low phenomenon has enticed a new, adventurous demographic. In fact, the 18–34-year-old age bracket is over-indexing (+1pp) for the category and also for drinking more frequently (+4pp). For these reasons, no/low is a vital trend to leverage and engage the next generation of On Premise consumers.


In addition, health continues to be an ever-growing motivation in terms of lifestyle choices, with three quarters of consumers claiming to lead a healthy lifestyle, and 16% saying it is more important to them that their drink is healthy than a year ago. Consequently, no/low and soft drinks are picking up pace with these consumers.


In terms of what people are looking for, 0.0% ABV no/low products are the most popular strength with two third of On Premise visitors who drink in the category. It’s clear consumers are seeking the taste and experience of drinking in the On Premise, minus any of the effects of alcohol.


Correspondingly, innovation remains imperative in no/low to match consumers’ flourishing discernment. With sophisticated tastes to satisfy, no/low spirit options are gaining in popularity and more exotic offerings like mocktails are the second most popular serve style behind no/low beer.


Moving forwards, the no/low category is key for engaging younger consumers and recruiting adventurous consumers who are on the lookout for new drinks experiences. Similarly, it’s also an important category for maintaining ties with health-conscious consumers who are moderating their alcohol intake.


Sian Brennan, client director – Ireland said: Dry January is continuing to gain momentum year on year. It’s accompanied by surging consumer preferences for no/low alcohol choices. OPUS outlines how to best tap into the demand for no/low alternatives and identifies core groups to appeal to. Catering to their shifting preferences ensures broader appeal and captures the market of those prioritising no/low experiences.”


OPUS provides many insights into consumers’ engagement and purchasing decisions in all On Premise channels, plus an expert analysis of categories, occasions and much more. To learn more about CGA’s OPUS solution delivering in-depth insights into consumer behaviour, and explore opportunities for tailored analysis, email Sian Brennan via


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