Description

Understand the current consumer trends and opportunities within the alcohol alternatives market in the US. Use Mintel’s exclusive market research to become more informed and tackle challenges in your industry. This report examines the “sober curious” lifestyle trend and its impact on consumer behavior, buying preferences of US adults when it comes to alcohol alternatives, and opportunities for brands to best position themselves in the evolving non-alcoholic beverages market. Read on to discover our insights.

Non-alcoholic Beverages Market Overview

Consumers are increasingly reevaluating their relationship with alcohol. The “sober curious” lifestyle, once a niche trend, is now gaining traction thanks to the numerous new alcohol alternatives and non-alcoholic options available in retail and foodservice locations.

From CBD drinks to non-alcoholic beers, to functional beverages, consumers have growing choices when it comes to alcohol alternatives and non-alcoholic drinks. Though, alcoholic beverage companies don’t need to worry about the sober curious trend, so long as they adapt to shifting consumer needs.

Alcohol Alternatives Market Trends and Consumer Behavior

Non-alcoholic drink purchasing is predictably most appealing to those who are sober curious. When buying an alcohol substitute — either at home or at a barsoda/pop is preferred by most, regardless of alcohol intake, while sober curious consumers prefer non-alcoholic drinks much more than those who consume alcohol.

The top reason for following a sober curious lifestyle for all consumers is to make alcohol an occasional indulgence. This comes as nearly half of sober curious consumers agree that giving up alcohol entirely would be too difficult. So, adults in the US are primarily interested in making alcohol an occasional indulgence rather than going completely dry.

Alcohol companies can thrive even as the alcohol alternative category grows; premium alcoholic beverages will perform strongly as consumers drink less but increasingly opt for higher-quality options.

  • Non-alcoholic drinks market trends: Health and wellness reasons are a strong driver of the sober curious movement; 26% of consumers state they drink alcohol less often to improve or manage their mental health.
  • Alcohol alternatives consumer behavior: 71% of sober curious consumers worry about the long-term health effects of alcohol consumption, compared to 57% of total consumers.

Find a comprehensive breakdown of the key alcohol alternatives and non-alcoholic beverage consumer trends and statistics in the full 67-page report, alongside expert analysis.

Market Opportunities for Brands in the Industry

While trending upward, education is necessary in the functional adult non-alcoholic beverage (FANB) category; brands must inform potential customers of the benefits of the less familiar ingredients (i.e. adaptogens) of their FANBs.

This applies particularly to Gen Z consumers, who, as noted in our Stress and Wellbeing Report, are much more likely than other generations to have experienced feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout.

As we find in this report, Gen Z are also the most receptive to FANBs that promote relaxation. This reveals the opportunity for appropriate targeting in FANB advertising and marketing campaigns.

For an extensive list of opportunities within each category of alcohol alternatives, buy the full report. Or, take a look at our complete non-alcoholic drinks market research, and find exactly what you’re looking for.

This Report Looks at the Following

  • Reasons why consumers follow the sober curious lifestyle.
  • Changes in consumers’ alcohol consumption and the reasons behind those changes.
  • Consumer purchases of alcohol alternatives/non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Consumer perceptions toward alcohol.
  • Opportunities and challenges for alcohol alternative beverage brands.

Covered in this Report

Categories: Cannabis/CBD drinks, non-alcohol drinks (i.e. beer, wine, spirits), functional adult non-alcoholic beverages, adult non-alcoholic beverages (adult flavored non-alcoholic drinks).

Brands/products: CANN, Pamos, High Tide, Saka, Liquid Death, Kin Euphorics, Curious Elixirs, Barbet, BonBuz, Psychedelic Water, Moment Botanical Water, Marley Mellow Mood, The Dry Mill, Sans Bar, ELi’s Tea bar, Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher, HopTea, Betty Buzz, Dr. Pepper Bourbon Flavored Fansville Reserve, Swig, Sprecher Lo-Cal Root Beer, United Sodas of America, Athletic Brewing, Heineken 0.0, De Soi, and more.

Expert Analysis from a Drinks Specialist

This report, written by Caleb Bryant, a leading analyst in the drinks sector delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the alcohol alternatives market and add expert context to the numbers.

Sober curiosity is trending as consumers prioritize their health and wellbeing, prompting many to seek premium, unique, healthful and functional alternatives to alcohol. Products ranging from NA beer to mood boosting adaptogen tonics to traditional CSDs can leverage new opportunities as consumers strive to reduce their alcohol consumption. And while consumers are rethinking their alcohol consumption, alcoholic beverages remain a mainstay indulgence for sober curious consumers. As such, alcohol companies can maintain their relevancy through the development of premium, BFY alcoholic drinks.
Caleb Bryant, Associate Director of Food and Drink Reports
Caleb Bryant
Associate Director of Food and Drink Reports

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways
                • Key consumer insights
                  • Sober curious lifestyle creeps into the mainstream
                    • Figure 1: Sober curious awareness and trial, 2022
                  • AAs trend and sober curious movement creates new opportunities for traditional non-alcoholic beverages
                    • Figure 2: Alcohol alternatives purchases, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                  • Mitigation not elimination
                    • Figure 3: Reasons consumers follow/would follow a sober curious lifestyle, top reason and any reason, 2022
                  • Health and wellness underscore the sober curious movement
                    • Figure 4: Reasons for drinking alcohol less often, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                  • AAs must pass the vibe check
                    • Figure 5: Packaging and design of AAs
                  • Premium alcoholic beverages will thrive
                    • Figure 6: Alcohol attitudes, any agree, by generation, 2022
                  • Opportunities and challenges by AA type
                  • Market Factors

                    • AAs need to prove their value as economic concerns rise
                      • Alcohol consumption remains static, yet consumers are trading up
                        • Figure 7: Median number of alcoholic drinks consumed in past seven days, among consumers who drink alcohol, 2000-22*
                      • Consumers perceive alcohol as problematic but consider themselves responsible drinkers
                        • Figure 8: Attitudes toward alcohol consumption
                        • Figure 9: Reported instances of over drinking, 2000-21
                      • Researchers urge moderation following new studies on alcohol consumption
                        • Greying population signals opportunities for BFY AAs
                        • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                          • Cannabis beverages evolve, challenging alcohol brands
                            • Figure 10: cannabis drinks
                          • All about vibes – packaging design is critical in the ANB category
                            • Figure 11: Packaging and design of AAs
                          • Functional ingredients help consumers relax without booze
                            • Figure 12: Alcohol alternatives – Important attributes, by generation, 2022
                            • Figure 13: FANB examples
                          • Provide consumers AA options when dining out
                            • Figure 14: Penetration of mocktails and NA beer at restaurants that serve alcohol, Q1 2021–Q1 2022
                          • Create AAs with cross occasion appeal
                            • Figure 15: ANBs with cross occasion appeal
                          • Sober curious trend offers CSD brands new growth opportunities
                              • Figure 16: CSD examples
                            • It takes more to build a NA brand than just removing alcohol
                              • Figure 17: Athletic brewing and Heineken 0.0
                          • Mintel Trends – Alcohol Alternatives Applications

                            • Overview
                              • Challenge Accepted + Hyper Fatigue // The realities of making resolutions 
                                • Figure 18: Topics related to Sober October social media posts
                              • Free From + Intentional Spending // the cost of drinking 
                                • Mood to Order + Me Mentality // Gen Z changes the narrative around NAs
                                • The Consumer – Fast Facts

                                  • Alcoholic Beverage Consumption

                                    • RTDs resonate with health-conscious drinkers
                                      • Figure 19: Alcohol consumption, any drink, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                  • Reasons for Not Drinking Alcohol

                                    • Unique adult non-alcoholic beverages provide non-drinkers options during alcohol consumption occasions
                                      • Figure 20: Reasons for not drinking alcohol, 2022
                                  • Sober Curious Awareness and Adherence

                                    • Sober curious lifestyle aligns with Gen Z and Millennial drinking preferences
                                      • Figure 21: Sober curious awareness and trial, by select demographics, 2022
                                      • Figure 22: Sober curious awareness and trial, by select demographics, 2022
                                  • Changes in Alcohol Consumption

                                    • Only slightly sober curious
                                        • Figure 23: Changes in alcohol consumption, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                        • Figure 24: Changes in alcohol consumption, by select demographics, 2022
                                    • Reasons for Drinking Alcohol More Often

                                      • Sober curious consumers are drinking “better”
                                        • Figure 25: Reasons for drinking alcohol more often, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                      • Younger high-income consumers are returning to bars
                                        • Figure 26: Reasons for drinking alcohol more often, by age and HHI, 2022
                                    • Reasons for Drinking Alcohol Less Often

                                      • Health concerns dissuades alcohol consumption
                                        • Figure 27: Reasons for drinking alcohol less often, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                      • Men are taking control of their physical and mental health
                                        • Figure 28: Reasons for drinking alcohol less often, by gender, 2022
                                      • Health concerns cut across age
                                        • Figure 29: Reasons for drinking alcohol less often, by age, 2022
                                    • Reasons for Following the Sober Curious Lifestyle

                                      • Consumers are looking to take a more mindful approach to drinking
                                        • Figure 30: Reasons consumers follow/would follow a sober curious lifestyle, top reason and any reason, 2022
                                      • Booze breaks offer consumers a chance to reset
                                        • Figure 31: Reasons consumers follow/would follow a sober curious lifestyle, any reason, by sober curious adherence and interest, 2022
                                      • Community aspect of the sober curious lifestyle resonates with LGBTQ consumers
                                        • Figure 32: Reasons consumers follow/would follow a sober curious lifestyle, top reason and any reason, by LGBTQ consumers, 2022
                                      • Welcome older consumers to the sober curious circle
                                        • Figure 33: Reasons consumers follow/would follow a sober curious lifestyle, top reason and any reason, by age, 2022
                                    • Alcohol Alternative Drink Purchases

                                      • Sober curious consumers drive NA category growth
                                        • Figure 34: Alcohol alternatives purchases, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                      • Gen Z consumers unwind with CBD drinks
                                        • Figure 35: Alcohol alternatives purchases, by generation, 2022
                                      • NA drinks hit the right marks for high income urban consumers
                                        • Figure 36: Alcohol alternatives purchases, by HHI, 2022
                                        • Figure 37: Alcohol alternatives purchases, by area, 2022
                                      • The emerging functional adult non-alcoholic beverage category is finding an audience among LGBTQ consumers
                                        • Figure 38: Alcohol alternatives purchases, by LGBTQ consumers, 2022
                                    • Alcohol vs Alcohol Alternatives – Perceptions

                                      • AA drinks garner interest but must deliver on taste
                                        • Figure 39: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Beverage associations, 2022
                                    • NA Drink Purchase Location

                                      • Online retailers offer consumers more choice and curated experiences
                                        • Figure 40: NA drink purchase location, by age, 2022
                                        • Figure 41: Boisson NOgroni Spagliato Kit
                                    • Alcohol Alternatives – Important Attributes

                                      • Make it BFY and provide occasion cues
                                        • Figure 42: Alcohol alternatives – Important attributes, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                      • AA consumers want drinks that combine flavor with function
                                        • Figure 43: Alcohol alternatives – Important attributes, by AA beverages consumed, 2022
                                      • Help consumers de-stress after a long day or provide a boost for nighttime revelries
                                        • Figure 44: Alcohol alternatives – Important attributes, by generation, 2022
                                    • Alcohol Alternatives – Flavor Interest

                                      • A flavor for any occasion
                                        • Figure 45: Alcohol alternatives – Flavor interest, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                        • Figure 46: The Bitter Housewife
                                      • CBD beverage brands can be bold with their flavor development
                                        • Figure 47: Alcohol alternatives – Flavor interest, by AA beverages consumed, 2022
                                      • Make it a mocktail for female consumers
                                        • Figure 48: Alcohol alternatives – Flavor interest, by gender and age, 2022
                                    • Alcohol Alternative Attitudes

                                      • Sober curious consumers remain engaged in the alcohol category
                                        • Figure 49: Alcohol attitudes, any agree, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                      • Consumers won’t sacrifice taste when purchasing NA drinks
                                        • Figure 50: Alcohol alternative attitudes, any agree, among sober curious consumers, 2022
                                      • Young consumers want options across drinking occasions
                                        • Figure 51: Alcohol alternative attitudes, any agree, by generation, 2022
                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                      • Data sources
                                        • Consumer survey data
                                          • Consumer qualitative research
                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                              • Abbreviations

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