Alcohol consumption has encountered a revolution; a complete remodeling of drinking volumes and frequencies. Drinking is at its lowest since 2005, often attributed to the paradigm shift in the value placed on health and wellness. As a consequence, consumers are happier to pay a surcharge, appreciating quality over quantity. This rise in ‘the pursuit of premium’ can be very good news for businesses offering high-end beers and alcohol-free alternatives. The opportunity is ripe, fs businesses can harness this information it can be used to great commercial advantage.

Every business knows the consumer is at the heart of every financial decision. That's why deep diving into, who drinkers are, how they behave and what makes them tick can aid increased sales and proliferated profit margins. There is huge potential for growth in the consumer landscape, in particular reference to the evolving behavioural patterns of drinkers. Those able to make expeditious adaptions to their business model, will prosper before the market is flooded by competitors. From qualitative and quantitative data, we highlight transformative behaviour, drinking habits and trends from 2019. We highlight key areas for change and consequently growth opportunities for enterprises in the drinks and hospitality industry.

Read on to see how data validated actions can uplift your business.

Healthy life, healthy mind

In the UK increased concern for health is perhaps one of the most observable trends in recent drinking behaviour. A report published by Marston reveals

"65% of consumers are actively seeking ways to lead healthier lifestyles."

Whilst other research demonstrated that average alcohol intake across the world is increasing, we see the reverse in the UK. Health and wellness are recognised to play a vital role in leading happy and balanced lifestyles, a trend which now converges into recreation and drinking culture. Adults are drinking less and many even cutting it out completely. To strengthen the argument of reduced drinking trends we can consider on-trade drinking volumes. The British Beer and Pub Association documented that 2019 beer sales have plummeted from 5.7 billion pints to 3.6 billion pints for the equivalent time period in 2007. This is a 36.8% decrease YoY.

Low hanging fruit

Interestingly although perhaps not surprisingly, the on-trade statistics are mirrored by general reduction in drinking. One in three 18-24-year olds’ have abstained from drinking completely and in the last six months 33% of consumers have decreased their alcohol consumption. To meet this increasing demand of non-alcoholic drinks we see prolific release of new products. Additionally, since 2016 there has been a 30% growth in low ABV beer, a category that is forecasted to grow even further to cater for this trend. In fact, AMR document the

"Non-alcoholic drinks market at the value of $1,548 billion in 2015, and is forecasted to reach $2,090 billion by 2022" (£1,699 billion at time of publish).

In line with “wellness” culture, Club Soda, a ‘mindful drinking movement’ was launched in 2017. The community is designed to change drinking perceptions and destigmatise non-alcoholic choices in social situations. Alcohol-free bars such as Getaway are popping up everywhere. The interesting USP of Getaway is that is not designed to be exclusively for total abstinence. It is not just for non-drinkers, it's a fun lively environment for anyone to enjoy, without the repercussions of alcohol. “Nothing about our space says you should be sober, or you shouldn’t go around the corner to another bar and do a tequila shot after hanging out here,” Thonis, owner of Getaway, said. 

From a sales perspective, this shift can be impactful to merchandising, it signals to the burgeoning reconsideration of the part alcohol plays in the lives of millenials. On the authority of an alternate report, in the UK alcohol-free beer sales surged by 28% for the year of 2019. We see increased sales, new product launches and suppression of social shame around alcohol alternatives.

Rife with opportunity

Currently many drinkers are dissatisfied and looking for viable alternatives that align with this trend. We are even observing more and more, top quality restaurants now offering non-alcoholic pairings to taster menus. Mixologists are coming up with increasingly exciting concoctions of interesting soft drinks. When questioned however, 14 % of drinkers said they did not purchase a non-alcoholic beer on this occasion because there was no alcohol-free alternative to what they were drinking. Research suggests that the more people earn, increases their likelihood to drink, 80% of people who earn over £40,000 drink regularly. This would suggest the majority of frequent consumers have disposable income, a clear sales opportunity. Sales are booming but many establishments are still slow-moving to indulge the shift, generating a gap in the market to satisfy those higher-earning drinkers.


Consumers are willing to spend more money on what they really like; drinkers are now consuming less alcohol but of better quality. The Marston report highlighted the importance of “premiumisation”. 

"Drinkers consumed 66.5 million fewer pints of beer than they did last year but spent an extra £177.8m on the beer they drank this year."

This means “leveling up” and offering premium poured draught pints and “adult” alternatives to soft drinks is paramount. The increased profit scope between offering soft drinks and conventional lager to premium quality pints, alcohol free or otherwise, is exponential.

Quality over quantity

Quality is also an increasingly prevalent macro behaviour of consumers, especially beer drinkers. The Marston report shows that Lager drinkers highlight quality-based indicators as the top 3 motivators for making a purchase. They include, served chilled, easy to drink and consistent quality. The impact of poor quality is easy to underestimate; however, it can have huge repercussions for trade. Drinkers are likely to avoid an establishment where they had a poor experience, equating to a large portion not returning. Additionally, the by-product of this is them telling others also not to visit. As a business it is essential to encourage drinkers to stay longer, spend more and increase their lifetime value by returning.

Knowing when

Drinkers reportedly enjoy low-alcohol beverages in the afternoon, data corroborates that 40% will choose lower ABV at lunchtime, whilst 30% of consumers will drink a stronger beer for a special occasion. With a wide assortment you can provide a product for every requirement. Hone in on drinking habits and offer a range of ABVs on draught with ease. Be there for every occasion and give reason for customers to return.

banner image


The statistics speak for themselves and the actions are straightforward. Business’ need profitable solutions that can be implemented quickly and cost effectively. A compact draught appliance serving premium quality beer like BLADE will make remunerative, commercial improvements. Beerwulf offer some of the most popular beers for BLADE in the food and drink industry including; Birra Moretti, Heineken, and Heineken 0.0. Birra Moretti is the third most popular in the list of top 10 world Lagers; with double-digit growth from 2018. And now 93% of all beer consumed is draught.  Upgrade your business and take advantage of these business opportunities by offering a premium, low ABV beer such as Heineken 0.0. Cater for the aforementioned low-alcohol consumption habits during the working week, lunch hour and after work trade. Not only this but selling Birra Moretii on draught can increase cash margins by 8% per serve. An alcohol-free alternative like Heineken 0.0 over soft drinks can increase cash margins by 27%.

banner image

The no-installation, plug & play functionality means there is no difficult onboarding with BLADE. You can install your BLADE machine without any time constraints or cost implications, turning any countertop into a bar. The ease of changing kegs means you can offer consumers a breadth of beer; rotate your assortment seasonally or on reactively. Draughting beer on BLADE can help to maintain undeviating standards of premium quality, with countless benefits to the perfect pour. The refrigerated dome keeps beer at optimum drinking temperature and fresh for 30 days to ensure faultlessly perfect pints time after time.

We are lucky to live in an experiential economy, where we value empirical, understandings over shared experiences. Making shared memories is a key part of society and our modern social lives. Consumers are willing to pay more for products and authentic experiences. Service, knowledge and quality are crucial to a high quality drinking experience. Be proud and passionate about serving great quality beer.

With BLADE, perfect pints are made easy. Upgrade your business today.