Carlton & United Breweries has today launched an alcohol-free version of its Great Northern brand as it prepares to to celebrate ten years since the debut of the ‘contemporary’ beer.
Great Northern, which is today the biggest selling beer brand in Australia and credited with sparking the Australia-specific contemporary beer boom, is seeking to capitalise on another significant industry trend.
Antonia Ciorciari CUB’s head of contemporary brands said the Great Northern’s foray into the non-alcoholic beer market reflected the “booming demand amongst Queenslanders for alcohol-free beer options.”
“The non-alcoholic beer category has doubled in Australia in the past year and sales through bottle shops and other off premise sites have increased 30-fold when compared with the same period in 2017/18,” Ciorciari said in a media release.
“Men and women are both seeking non-alcoholic beer with the strongest demand coming from those aged 25 to 45.”
Over the last 12 months alcohol free beer segment in Australia has grown by 191 per cent “reflecting changing consumer needs”, and during the COVID-19 lockdown period from March to May 2020, alcohol-free beer sales grew by over 600 per cent versus the same period last year according to IRI Worldwide.
While this appears to be exponential growth for the alcohol-free category, its growth comes from a very small base.
Globally, consumer data provider Statista predicts the market for non-alcoholic beer is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent over the coming years. It says it will grow from USD13.5 billion in 2013, the industry is forecast to grow to a value of 25 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
The potential of the category has already excited retailers with Endeavour Group noting the category growth in its most recent results.
CUB said that the alcohol-free variant will appeal to its outdoor active customer base, and as part of health and wellness trends.
“Our fans are an outdoorsy lot who want the freedom to 4WD, boat, fish, kayak, hike or simply drive home from the pub and still enjoy a cold Great Northern with their mates,” Ciorciari said.
“Now they can add a few Zeroes to the fridge or cooler, along with Great Northern Super Crisp or Original, and then anyone who wants to have a beer at any occasion now can.”
The company’s release noted that although it is non-alcoholic, “Great Northern Zero is marketed to adults in strict accordance with the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code.”
Great Northern Zero will initially be sold only in Queensland and the Northern Territory and stocked in supermarkets, cafes, bars, hotels and bottle shops throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory.
Great Northern’s success for CUB, whose fortunes were otherwise flat, was credited by then executive chairman of Asahi Beverages in Australia, Peter Margin, as being a major reason for the Japanese brewer to acquire CUB from ABInBev.