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Low-carb beer finds unlikely niche

June 4, 2015
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Category leader: Carlton Dry

Category leader: Carlton Dry

Consumption of low carb beer has stabilised and the people who favour it are not who you may expect, according to new research.

When the low-carb craze reached its peak in September 2011, almost 11 per cent of Australia’s adult population (or 1,853,000 people) were drinking it in an average four weeks, up from 1.6 per cent in June 2006.

The trend has since stabilised, with the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research revealing that low-carb beer is now consumed by 8.5 per cent of Australians.

However, the total proportion of Australians drinking beer has steadily declined over the same period from 42.3 per cent to 36.5 per cent. Low-carb beer consumers now comprise almost one quarter of people drinking beer in an average four weeks – well up on June 2006, when they accounted for just three per cent of the country’s total beer drinkers.

Health concerns irrelevant to low-carb fans
Only one quarter of low-carb beer drinkers are women (about average for beer drinking in general), and men aged under 35 years easily outnumber those aged 50+ (33 per cent vs 21 per cent of total low-carb beer drinkers respectively), Roy Morgan found.

And the research found low-carb beer drinkers are actually less concerned about their waistline than the average Australian. For example, they are:

  • 25 per cent less likely to agree that “A low fat diet is a way of life for me”
  • 18 per cent less likely to agree that “I always think about the number of calories in the food I’m eating
  • 11 per cent less likely to agree that “I restrict how much I eat of fattening food”
  • 10 per cent less likely to agree that “I would like to be able to lose weight”
hello beer

The ‘Hello Beer’ campaign

Carlton Dry takes top spot
Roy Morgan group account director Angela Smith said the research suggests the appeal of low-carb beers is unrelated to dietary factors.

“In fact, men aged between 18 and 24 (not generally a weight-conscious bunch) are the most likely age group of either gender to drink low-carb beer, with 20 per cent consuming it in an average four weeks,” she said.

“As men in this age range are less likely than men of any other age to drink beer in general, this is quite noteworthy — and category leader Carlton Dry has clearly recognised the opportunity it presents, aiming their playful ‘Hello Beer’ advertising campaign squarely at this demographic.”

Smith said the range of low-carb beers has exploded since Pure Blonde hit the shelves more than decade ago.

“Until recent months, Pure Blonde was able to maintain top spot in this increasingly crowded field, but was overtaken by close rival Carlton Dry in December 2014,” she said.

Read more:
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Biggest beer in Australia axed
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