Nonalcoholic spirits have been in the market for a long time. But only recently have they become popular. This shift in the drinking culture has pushed producers offer more varieties, and they are selling. People are no longer embarrassed to ask bartenders for a non-alcoholic drink. In some places it is even become cool to do so. These beverages are made to appear and taste as closely as possible to real spirits, but with no or low alcohol content.
Many non-alcoholic and low alcohol drinks started coming in to Jamaica around 2015. But their biggest sales increase came during the pandemic. In 2021, sales doubled to more than and 11 billion and in 2022 there was a 9% increase. It is expected to grow 3.9% more in 2023 says data analytics firm Statista.
Who’s drinking non-alcoholic spirits and why?
Globally, the big markets for non-alcoholic spirits are the United Kington, Brazil, the United States, China, Australia, and Europe. The largest group of consumers are men and women 18 to 49 who are making better health choices for their bodies and families. Brands in the US launched more than 70 new non-alcoholic beverages in 2022 as people choose healthier alternatives for their drinking lifestyles.
Still, the market for low alcohol spirits and no alcohol beverages has a long way to go. Its 400 million in sales and 5 percent household penetration is dwarfed by the $400 billion alcoholic spirit market, according to Forbes.
In Jamaica, the popular spirit brands seem to be meeting market demands. These include non-alcoholic beers such as O’Doul’s, Heineken 0, and Red Stripe beer's new catalog of low-alcohol content beers - Red Stripe lemon, sorrel, melon, apple, and Red Stripe light which all have a 3.4% alcohol. Red Stripe's new flavors have become favorites among young Jamaicans, who are the brand’s targeted consumers. The sorrel flavored light beer is so popular, especially among females, it is sometimes hard to find.
Red Stripe and the other brands clearly want to grow beer sales locally so they are catering to the market’s tastes. As Jamaicans get more health conscious, there will certainly be room for growth of these beverages and we are likely to see more varieties.