September 22, 2021

Stella Artois Liberté is the latest alcohol free beer to hit the shelves amid the growing sober-curious movement.

Low and no ABV beverages are shaping the drinks sector in Western Europe with Heineken’s Desperados and Diageo’s Gordon’s Gin among others to already embrace the trend.

Anheuser-Busch, the largest brewer in the United States, launched Stella Artois Liberté the new 0.0% non-alcoholic beer in September which will be pouring into select markets including New York, Washington DC, Miami, and Philadelphia.

Its message brings a new perspective to the industry, appearing to suggest drinkers “expand the night” by incorporating the beverage alongside traditional lager.

Peter Van Overstraeten, vice president of premium and super premium USA Anheuser-Busch InBev, said: “We’re very excited to be able to offer fans our classic Stella Artois lager as a non-alcoholic version of the brew. It’s the perfect addition to round out our Stella portfolio.

“With this new innovation, we want to provide people the liberty to enjoy more of life’s special moments with those that matter most. 

“Liberté will give you the confidence to say yes to happy hour and make new memories over an ice-cold beer.”

The 2020s are tipped to be the decade of ‘NoLo’ spirits led by the beer and cider sector in 2010s.

Nielsen 2020 data suggests the no and low ABV sector has grown by 506% since 2015. 

The research predicts the non-alcoholic industry, including soft drinks, will generate $280 million (€236.91) in revenue this year and reach an annual growth rate of 7.1% by 2025.

In the UK alone, sales of non-alcoholic ‘spirits’ grew by 30% in 2019. The country currently boasts 42 non-alcoholic spirits, of which 11 were released in 2020.

As reported in Sial Newsroom earlier this yeara report released by London-based wine and spirits analyst IWSR pointed to volumes of no-alcohol and low-alcohol products growing 31% by 2024. 

Meanwhile a record 12 non-alcoholic spirit brands were launched in the US last year, bringing its total to 29.

Diageo relaunched its 0.0% Guinness in the UK in September

As health and wellness trends continue to spread, producers in Western Europe are growing their portfolios.

Heineken’s Desperados continues the roll out of its first alcohol free innovation Desperados Virgin 0.0% which launched in France last year and is being made available in additional markets including Poland Belgium throughout 2021.

FTSE 100 drinks giant Diageo relaunched its alcohol-free Guinness in the UK in early September after four years of development.

And its Gordon’s brand saw its first Alcohol Free 0.0% gin go on sale in supermarkets in late December 2020 in time for the growing Dry January trend.

GlobalData predicts low ABV products in the Western Europe spirits sector will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6%, with consumers more determined than ever to maintain a healthy moderate lifestyle that promotes physical and emotional balance.

Research from the leading data and analytics company shows that new beer and cider products with an ABV equal to and below 0.5% grew by 8.4% and 9.3% respectively across Western Europe between 2015 and 2020.

The low alcohol trend was first championed by the beer and cider sector and these developments will help illustrate how spirits might evolve.

Beer brands have recently leveraged the ‘healthier’ and ‘more responsible’ position of their low ABV offerings to promote mental health awareness and spirits producers are likely to follow.

Regarding consumer appeal, GlobalData’s 2019 consumer survey showed that more than half (54%) of European participants consider alcoholic drinks with low or no alcohol somewhat or very appealing.

Beverages analyst Holly Ingils said: “Mental health is a rising concern within the consumer sphere, which has gained particular focus in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Stella Artois Liberté will come in the classic 11.2oz glass bottle and a redesigned blue label, containing a full-flavored premium alcohol-free lager with a well-balanced flavor of malt sweetness, crisp hop bitterness, and clean finish.

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