As more people are interested in alcohol-free drinks, celebrities and large companies are taking advantage.
I remember about a decade ago when a celebrity talked about his resolution to quit drinking in January, to detoxify from previous holiday festivities. This may be the first time I’ve heard of what is commonly referred to as dry January. In addition to this abstention month, 12 years ago was the launch of Sober October, which was launched in 2010 as an October fundraiser by Australian youth health organisation Life Education.
There are other attempts to expand the alcohol-free months, including dry July or sober September. However, new research from global e-commerce accelerator Pattern shows that U.S. consumers are more eager to participate in January dry goods than they were in October.
Based on U.S. Amazon shopper search data from 2019 to 2022, Pattern’s analysis found that January was the month with the highest shopper interest in non-alcoholic beverages. Searches on Amazon did see an uptick in October 2020, with a 14% increase in interest in non-alcoholic beverages. However, this is well below the 47% increase seen in January 2020.
When comparing 2020 to 2021, Amazon’s interest in non-alcoholic beverages rose 3% year-over-year in January. Meanwhile, October was down 45% compared to a year earlier. Pattern attributes the shift to the October 2020 celebration of the 10th year of sobriety in the U.S., and there may be a bigger than normal marketing push.
“With Dry January gaining more consumer interest, it’s critical for alcohol-alternative beverage brands to generate brand affinity and awareness early on,” said Hamilton Noel, Data Scientist at Pattern. “The holiday season begins with Sober in October. It’s a great opportunity to increase your marketing and advertising budget to grab consumers’ attention so that your brand will be the first choice once they’re ready to make their New Year’s resolutions.
“It’s also important to note that as supply chain issues continue to affect global brands,” Noel continued. “Beverage brands should make sure to stay in close contact with their data science teams to understand where consumer demand is headed, as well as their manufacturing partners, to ensure they have the right amount of inventory on hand to handle the surge in the first quarter.”
The beverage market has no shortage of players in the alcohol-free segment. Actress Blake Lively, for example, has seen her upstart label Betty Buzz expand its reach in its first year. Alcohol-free sparkling blenders have entered 8,000 retail locations with direct-to-consumer orders.
Available in five flavors – Tonic, Sparkling Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon Club Soda, Sparkling Lime and Ginger Ale – Betty Buzz drinks are made with real juices and natural flavors without artificial flavors, Colors or sweeteners, non-GMO, and gluten-free, the company says.
The non-alcoholic beverage market has also attracted attention outside the United States. For holiday entertainment, Denmark-based ISH is launching its line of handcrafted non-alcoholic (NA) sparkling wines, spirits and cocktails in the US. The ISH portfolio includes two non-alcoholic sparkling wines; three North American spirits (named Caribbean Spiced Spirits, London Botanical Spirits and Mexican Tequila) imitating rum, gin and tequila. spirits); and three canned NA cocktails (Spritz, G&T and Lime Daiquiri).
Morten Sørensen, who created ISH after choosing to stop drinking for 100 days, points out that it wasn’t a challenge, but finding alternatives was.
“I want to be a more attentive drinker, and I don’t want to have another cranberry ginger ale while socializing with friends,” Morten says. “So, I decided to create a new line of non-alcoholic beverages to make it easy for anyone to become a conscious drinker. Everyone deserves a good drink, whether it contains alcohol or not. ISH makes this possible.”
With interest in non-alcoholic beverages set to rise in the coming months, consumers will have no shortage of options. The question is whether brand owners are prepared for the potential increased interest in these products.
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