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The rise of mindful drinking in Australia
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The rise of mindful drinking in Australia

The rising popularity of Dry January, Dry July, low-carb beer, alcohol-free spirits and hard kombucha in Australia suggests that ‘mindful drinking’ is the latest health-craze among Aussie consumers.

Australians are reducing the alcohol they consume with one-in-four claiming they have done so recently. This is more pronounced for men aged over 40. When exploring the reasons behind the reduction in alcohol intake, 32% of beer drinkers said they are opting for a healthier lifestyle.  

As with any category or industry, change doesn’t mean that a revenue stream has evaporated. For liquor manufacturers, bars and restaurants that don’t adapt to shifting ‘mindful drinking’ preferences,  the outlook will be far less bright. Near-beers, premium soft drinks, mocktails, low- and non-alcoholic options, kombuchas and botanical tinctures all offer a wealth of opportunity to experiment with and promote to consumers.

And Australia is not alone; in the U.K., the no/low beer category has grown by £16.1 million in the latest 12 months, attracting new buyers to this healthier market niche.

The rise of mindful drinking globally suggests that no-alcohol options will continue to grow as a consumer beverage choice during social occasions. Aside from the successful launch of Heineken Zero in 2018, there has also been an increase in non-alcoholic craft spirits. Global brands like Seedlip and local entrants like Ecology & Co are providing consumers with more options than ever before.

66% of alcohol beverage drinkers aged 21 – 34 said they are making an effort to reduce their overall consumption of alcohol

Manufacturers are also channelling their innovation efforts to hit the sweet spot between ‘good for me’ and ‘good for we’ options across channels and categories. Consumers are increasingly seeking options that are better for their own health and that of their families, while also being better for the wider community and the environment. Aside from being a strong premiumisation play, the target market for this sweet spot is highly engaged and readily identifiable making it an attractive proposition for marketers. 

the number one reason for drinking less is “opting for a healthier lifestyle

INNOVATION AND BLURRED LINES

Innovation that blurs category lines is a consistent trend we are seeing in the liquor market – there is lots of collaboration between breweries, distilleries and wine-makers currently in play. While still in its infancy in Australia, consumers now can find whisky brands with a hint of IPA beer, wines aged in whisky barrels and spirits brands venturing into the ‘ready-to-drink cocktails’ space. 

Looking to the U.S. market for inspiration, there’s significant growth in the Hard Seltzer category, which is a carbonated alcoholic beverage. Before the year ends, Hard Seltzers will be worth over $1 billion USD – almost doubling in the last year. In Australia, brands like K. Booch are looking to mirror the rise of the Hard Kombucha category globally.

Ready-to-drink spirits is one category that is set to take off with a proliferation of new products and innovation aimed at meeting the evolving needs of Australian drinkers. Mixing spirits and soft drinks has traditionally been popular, but the next generation of ready-to-drink products are also resonating with the more modern shopper who are on the hunt for healthier beverage choices.