Inside the Non-Alcoholic Adult Beverage Trend

“Dry January” may be over, but there’s no denying the staying power of the non-alcoholic (NA) adult beverage. Let’s take a closer look at this enduring trend.

February 20, 2024

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Over the past decade, the nonalcoholic movement has surged in popularity, fueled by a heightened focus on health and wellness. Recently, the business benefits and opportunities of this trend have started to align with the health narrative, opening up exciting pathways for growth within bar and beverage programs. How can operators capitalize on these opportunities? We’ve gathered insights from David Henkes, leader of Technomic’s Away-From-Home Beverage Navigator Program, and curated Show resources to guide you on this journey. 
What’s driving the NA Trend?
According to David Henkes, Senior Principal, Technomic, the supposed “passing fad” of the non-alcoholic (NA) movement is officially “sticking”—for good. “This whole ‘sober curious’ movement is really picking up steam and it’s really driven by the younger generation, by Gen Z,” says Henkes. This paradigm shift presents operators with an interesting challenge. "Beverage is a natural category ripe for innovation," remarks Henkes, noting that these same, “sober curious” consumers still seek innovative, flavor-forward options. He contends that crafting creative spirit-free offerings is key to reaching those who "aren't interested in a basic soft drink or a higher-portfolio drink but are looking for something exotic."

Moreover, there’s significant revenue potential in alcohol free adult beverage alternatives. According to Henkes, these options help “drive beverage occasions.” Otherwise, these same consumers might opt for water, resulting in missed revenue opportunities. For operators grappling with margin and profitability issues, embracing this opportunity is essential. "Beverage is such an important part of margin and profitability and should be a big area of emphasis for savvy operators,” adds Henkes.
NA Resources at the Show
For operators seeking to introduce (or expand) NA offerings, reach new consumers and increase revenue, the Show provides excellent resources within its renowned Beverage Room. There, attendees looking for ideas and guidance can kickstart their journey at the Exciting Shifts in the World of Non-Alcoholic Beverages session, led by Joshua James, owner of Ocean Beach Café. Participants will gain insights into emerging NA beverage categories and sample mocktails that are on trend with the current drinking culture. 

Attendees can continue their journey with a visit to The Beverage Room’s NA Exhibitors. Confirmed exhibitors for the Show include industry giants Heineken (“Heineken 0.0”) and White Claw (“White Claw 0% Alcohol”), proprietors of NA beer and alcohol-free seltzer respectively. Additionally, innovative brands such as Mockly (maker of “booze free cocktails”), CS Group (mixers and juices), LaPavia Beverage Inc (sparking tonics, ginger beer and grapefruit soda) and Spindrift Beverage Co. (sparkling water made with real squeezed fruit) will also be present, ready to collaborate and share industry knowledge to help you maximize profitability.

As a proud partner of the Adult Non-Alcoholic Beverage Association (ANBA), the Show looks forward to expanding its roster of NA exhibitors and programming opportunities in the coming months, providing attendees with an extensive array of options to explore and integrate into their businesses.
Remember: for restaurants to succeed, high-margin ticket items are critical. The non-alcoholic adult beverage trend is a perfect way to check that box and meet the evolving demands of consumers. The Show is your partner in this and all trends. So, seize the moment, embrace the trend and elevate your business to new heights in the exciting world of non-alcoholic adult beverages.
For more NA opportunities at the Show, stay tuned to The Show To Go for programming and exhibitor updates.

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