Non-Alcoholic Trends

January 15, 2024

Why Non-Alcohol?

In a very short period, the non-alcohol landscape has changed dramatically, one part driven by age and the other by culture.  Older drinkers such as Baby Boomers or Gen X have reduced their consumption primarily due to age and health.  Millennials and  Gen Z’s consumer decisions are significantly affected by the internet and social media, as well as peer and celebrity promotion. The mainstream products we have seen on the shelves for decades are slowly losing buyers as younger consumers look at these mainstream products and equate them to “what grandpa used to drink” and look to other options.

Add in what was originally a response to the excess of the holidays leading up to the New Year’s Eve festivities, “Dry” January has been part of our culture for quite some time now. Some have taken this a bit further and now include February in their alcohol abstinence. Today, if you are a Millennial or a legal Gen Z, you are changing the landscape further by not drinking the entire year.


How did non-alcoholic beverages become such a massive trend, you ask?

Image by on Freepik

Before COVID, there was the beginning of a movement to improve our health and wellness.  We were turning away from the unhealthy, sugar-laden pops and juices and reaching for elixirs with healthier properties, for example, kombucha being early on the scene.  We were also looking to change our thinking towards alcohol consumption in a desire for a more balanced lifestyle.

During the anxiety and stress of COVID, we saw alcohol sales spike.  And as we returned to more normal times after COVID, we began again to seek out healthier options, but the taste of alcoholic drinks was still fresh in our minds.



A group of brilliant people saw the demand and set out to re-create our favourite drinks but in a non-alcoholic version.  One of the results was cocktails, often referred to as “Mocktails”, made from quality ingredients, containing low carbs and low to zero sugars.  Marketed as healthy alternatives, these mocktails do very well with consumers, offering the same look and taste as their alcoholic versions.




Technology and innovation have helped the other parts of the industry, spirits, wine and beer, offer non-alcoholic versions of their products.  Overall, the number of non-alcoholic products is increasing rapidly as more consumers search for healthier alternatives.  Sales have continued to improve, with an expectation of double-digit growth over the next two years.


Millennials and Gen Z no longer see alcohol as an integral part of their social interaction, such as celebration or relaxation.  This is a massive departure from tradition as they redefine the ‘norms’.  They prefer to seek the experience of social interaction, including drinking, but without the alcohol.  Alcohol consumption socially is seen as something their parents or grandparents did; younger generations seek out social interaction in new and different ways.  The change in liquor laws have also changed the way we view and engage in alcohol consumption. Sobriety is no longer an exception but instead is an acceptable choice.  The need and use of alcohol is diminishing as we look for healthier choices and lifestyles.  Its an acknowledgement of the diversity of lifestyle today.


Mocktails fit nicely into this thinking as they offer an experience into our past, or of different cultures, without the effects of alcohol.  Craft brewers and distillers are jumping into the mix with non-alcoholic variations of their products.  They have been well accepted due to Craft producers reputation of offering complexity and quality.  Their ‘craftsmanship’ is seen as being a more sophisticated and unique alternative to traditional choices.


Where does this leave us today?

Cocktails and Beer lead with the largest selection and variation of products, most being made by small, craft producers.  They all have varying claims to the quality of the products, their use of ingredients and their health and wellness benefits.  The good news is that being a non-alcoholic product, the nutrition information is always available on the packaging.  Obviously, one of the key factors will be the taste and enjoyment of the drink.  With lots of choice you are sure to find one that tastes great and meets your wellness goals.  A good place to start is by reading the product label.

Traditional spirit and wine producers have the largest challenge as long standing traditions are slow to change.  Today’s non alcoholic offerings are few and with mixed results.  Continued improvements to technology and innovation will offer more diversity and quality to these product offerings.  In the interim, the increasing movement to “natural” wines offer a lower alcohol and healthier drinking choice.


Oddbird Sparkling Rose Alcohol removed Cabernet Sauvignon

Non-alcoholic wine has been available for a long time but until the last couple of years the choices have been small with mixed results for quality and taste.  A small group of new producers are using blending techniques with non-grape ingredients to reproduce the aroma and taste of wine.  Another group of wine growers are using new techniques for the removal of alcohol from actual wine while retaining the original aroma and taste of these wines.  Both techniques offer a improved taste and quality from earlier offerings.  With many new and existing wine producers getting involved with new technologies and techniques  soon to be offering more choice, it is interesting times.  Again, taste and enjoyment of the drink is key, and remember to read the label.



RTD’s and Spirits are very limited these days, but all the major producers are working on non-alcoholic offerings to be released soon.  The current offerings have mixed results in terms of taste and enjoyment with varying health and wellness claims.  Definitely do your research.


The Future

The future looks very good for non-alcoholic drinks.  With many new small and larger producers soon to release their offerings, the choice will be as varied as current alcohol drinks.  Health and wellness will continue to be a key to the production and success of this new market.  The quality, choice and enjoyment value will continue to improve.  With expected sales growth of over 26% through to 2026, you can expect a great deal of attention to you, the consumer.

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