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Big brands like Guinness have released alcohol-free versions of their flagship drinks in recent years

Young adults are leading demand for alcohol-free drinks, with almost half of 18 to 24-year-olds describing themselves as either regular or occasional drinkers of low & no alcohol products.

That’s according to the Portman Group’s sixth annual survey in conjunction with YouGov, which shows a marked increase in consumption of alcohol alternatives among the youngest legal drinking age cohort.

Those aged 18 to 24 are now the biggest consumers of low & no alcohol alternatives, according to YouGov polling of nearly 2,200 UK adults.

In total, 44% of 18 to 24-year-olds surveyed considered themselves either an occasional or regular drinker of alcohol alternatives, compared with 31% in 2022.

Nearly four in 10 (39%) of 18 to 24-year-olds now refrain from drinking alcohol at all.

The research also revealed how UK drinkers were continuing to use alcohol-free and low-alcohol products to moderate their booze intake. Almost one in four (23%) of respondents said they had seen their alcohol consumption fall because of low & no alcohol products (up from 21% in 2022).

For the sixth year in a row, the most popular reasons given for drinking alcohol alternatives were to avoid drinking excessively at social events and being able to drive home.

Zero-alcohol versions of popular alcoholic drinks brands continue to prove an effective gateway to drinking low & no. In total, 83% of those surveyed said they first tried an alcohol alternative through a product that shared branding with an alcoholic product.

Last year saw brands including Asahi Super Dry, Captain Morgan and Staropramen release alcohol-free versions of their flagship drinks.

Portman Group CEO Matt Lambert said: “It is welcome to see a further rise in the popularity of low & no alcohol alternatives, as well as further evidence of how they are an important tool to help UK drinkers, particularly younger adults, to drink responsibly.

“The availability of alcohol alternatives has never been more abundant and we eagerly await the outcome of the recent UK government consultation on low alcohol descriptors, which we hope will further facilitate the growth of the UK low & no alcohol market.”