Non-alcoholic bevvies are in

Once upon a time, non-drinkers out on the town had the choice of pop, water, or nothing… that’s no longer the case as companies rush to create options for booze-free booze. 

What happened: Beverage giant Keurig Dr. Pepper invested US$50 million for a minority stake in Athletic Brewing, a leader in the booming non-alcoholic craft beer market. 

Why it matters: Over US$331 million in non-alcoholic drinks were sold in North America last year. A megacorp like Keurig getting in on the action is a sign this isn’t a short-term trend.

Why it’s happening: Society, particularly Gen Z, is cutting back on booze in the name of health these days. A quarter of Canadians drank less during the pandemic (and about a third of those aged 15-29), a number that definitely seems too high but in Stats Canada we trust. 

  • Beer, with its high-carb count and general associations with unhealthiness, has been hard-hit, with Canadian beer sales declining 7.9% this year compared to last. 

Aside from health, perceptions around alcohol have changed as binge drinking, once an activity for the cool kids, has been deemed both cringe and a danger to one’s public image. 

  • A report from the Centre on Substance Use detailing the health impacts of alcohol consumption could create an even larger addressable market of non-drinkers. 

What’s next: The non-alcoholic drink market is still relatively untapped in Canada, but is growing with some brewers expanding into ‘functional beers’ (cold ones with health benefits).