AB InBev UK launches Michelob Ultra beer as no and low alcohol beer sales rise

UK – Sales of no and low alcohol beer are rising on the trend among British consumers for balanced lifestyles and a social shift towards drinking in moderation. No-alcohol and low-alcohol beer sales increased 20% year-on-year in 2018, according to industry data of sales in supermarkets and other off-trade locations prepared for AB InBev UK by Nielsen.

As part of AB InBev’s commitment to smart drinking and giving consumers more choice, the company said it is updating on one of its 2015 Global Smart Drinking Goals; the ambition for no and low-alcohol to represent 20% of its global volumes by 2025.

Three years into the 10-year commitment, UK volumes stand at around 7%, which AB InBev wants to boost in the coming months, especially with the UK launch of Michelob ULTRA.

The biggest growth is in alcohol-free beer, with a 27% increase in sales to over 43 million pints.

British drinkers are also demonstrating a taste for lower-strength brews – beer brewed to between 0.5% and 3.5% ABV – according to the data.

In the 12 months to July 2018, consumers bought more than 86 million pints of low-alcohol beer, representing 16% growth on the same period last year.

“We have a responsibility to help drive a shift to smart drinking, and brewing great quality low and no alcohol beer is a fundamental part of that.

While we’re proud that these beers are on the rise in the UK, we have lots more to do to cement low-and-no-alcohol options in popular culture and social settings and recognise that we don’t have all of the answers.

We must work with the wider industry and Government to promote the development and adoption of lower-strength beers and change social norms for the better,” said Tatiana Stadukhina, Marketing Director for AB InBev UK & Ireland.

“We want to accelerate towards our goal of no-alcohol and low-alcohol beer reaching 20% of our volumes by 2025 and can’t wait for the UK to try Michelob ULTRA when it hits shelves next month.”

The category leader in low-alcohol beer is AB InBev’s Bud Light at 3.5% ABV.

Arriving from across the pond in 2017, Bud Light was the fastest-growing lager brand in the UK over the last 12 months, adding £30.5m to its value with volumes growing 24% compared to last year.

The beer has rapidly established a loyal customer base, achieving a repeat purchase rate of 37% and has introduced new shoppers to the beer category, as over 10% of its buyers are entirely new to lager.

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