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Low & No 2022: What we've learnt so far

Sober October Blog

The Macmillan Cancer Support founded Sober October in 2014 as a means for people to raise money for charity. Since then, it’s grown to be recognised worldwide both as a fundraising opportunity and a way to encourage a healthier lifestyle.  

The trend for low & no alcohol has continued grow in 2022; 8 million adults participated in Dry January, a 22% increase from 2021. We looked at the latest trends from PROOF Insight to provide a few ways you can tap into the alcohol-free movement and get more customers into your venue. 

The Desire to Reduce Alcohol Consumption is Increasing 

Twice as many people will be taking part in this year’s Sober October compared to last year. People want to reduce their alcohol intake for a variety of reasons but the most important is for a healthier lifestyle. Of those that have planned to take part, it is most popular amongst the 25–35-year-old age bracket where 1 in 5 have said they will go sober until the end of October 31st.  

However, not everyone will be cutting out alcohol completely this month, with 28.5% of customers saying they want to reduce how much they consume instead. This number increases to 50% when only considering those aged between 25-34-years-old. It’s clear that a huge number of UK customers want to consume less alcohol which opens an opportunity for low & no substitutes. 

Driving Low & No sales 

Now we know you may be thinking, “why is it worth me including a low and no alcohol range in my venue?”  Of people who are forgoing alcohol, 47.1% still go out to pubs, bars, and restaurants to socialize. This statistic increases to 69% when only considering those in the 25-34 age group. In other words, those who are avoiding alcoholic beverages will still be going to your venues for the atmosphere and to socialise.  

When out, 16.2% of people abstaining from alcohol would drink alcohol-free beer, 8.3% would choose alcohol-free cider and 6.9% would opt for alcohol-free wine. This is a key revenue stream that you could miss out on if you don’t offer quality low and no alcohol alternatives. While ensuring that low and no options are represented in your range, a lot of customers will order on ‘auto-pilot’, going for a low margin soft drink over alcohol free alternatives. Having the range is important, but you also need to let your customers know what is on offer. The psychology of enjoying a pint, even if it’s alcohol free, is very different from having a glass of squash. It recalls long nights with mates and will encourage your patrons to stick around, ultimately spending more in the venue. Make sure you have your low or non-alcohol options clearly displayed in your venue, on the bar or in a separate section of the menu to drive customers away from a boring soda and lime, towards the theatre of a well garnished mocktail.   

Some of Our Top Picks for Sober October  

We’ve picked some of our favourite low and no alcohol drinks that are perfect for customers who are cutting back on the booze but don’t want to miss out on great flavour.  

Thinking of expanding your non-alcoholic beer range? Have a look at Corona Cero which is brewed with 100% natural ingredients. At 0.0% and just 56 calories per bottle, it delivers the same refreshing and crisp taste of Corona Extra, that goes perfectly with a wedge of lime. Or how about bringing a taste of Italy with Menabrea 0.0%: This alcohol-free lager has a finely balanced taste and is delicate, yet full bodied given its zero level of alcohol. 

Looking to serve up some tasty mocktails? Check out Caleño Dark & Spicy – golden and spicy distillation that has notes of coconut and pineapple, it’s an excellent substitute for spiced rum and is perfect for making non-alcoholic mojitos. For pink gin lovers, try Everleaf’s ‘Mountain’ - this non-alcoholic aperitif is a vibrant blend of 12 sustainably sourced botanicals carefully chosen to capture mountain flavours including Cherry Blossom, Rosehip and Strawberry. 

Wine lovers can also rejoice with Wild Life Botanicals – their range of ultra-low alcohol sparkling wines are packed full of botanical benefits. One glass of Wild Life delivers a minimum of 15% of your daily recommended intake of blended vitamins and minerals, is powered by plants, and is less than 35 calories per glass. So, customers taking part in Sober October can get an extra hit of healthy goodness! 

It’s clear that the low and no alcohol movement shows no signs of slowing down. Catering to non-drinkers with exciting alcohol-free options and making them visible on your menu will only help drive more footfall to your venue for Sober October and beyond.  

About the author

Seb Pinto

Seb works in digital marketing for Matthew Clark. While studying at university, he worked part-time as a bartender and discovered a passion for the drinks industry. Since graduating in July 2022, he now puts his on-trade knowledge to good use across our channels.