The team behind alcohol-free beer brand Infinite Session are to launch Brisk, a new light beer and the company’s first foray into alcohol.
Brisk, a 3.3% abv light lager, had been in development for over two years but was accelerated by the introduction of the ‘lower alcohol’ duty band this month.
The beer claims to contain 50% fewer calories than a standard 5% lager, and is also sugar, carb and gluten-free.
Co-founder Chris Hannaway said duty changes would “help very quickly normalise” the market for sub-3.5% abv beer.
He added the category could grow to be worth £5bn based on comparable estimates from countries including Sweden and Australia.
“This duty change is obviously going to have a big change in the market,” he said. “If you look at Australia and Sweden, they’ve both got massive 3%-3.5% markets. Sweden is a lot to do with the fact you can only buy sub-3.5% beers in supermarkets, and in Australia they have tax breaks to 3.5%.
“Twenty-five per cent of the beer market in Sweden is sub-3.5% and Australia’s is about 27%. In the UK we are at 0.8% in that area, so there’s quite a bit of headroom to go into.”
With the launch of Brisk, Hannaway – who founded Infinite Session with brother Tom Hannaway in 2018 – is targeting beer drinkers seeking to moderate, as well as consumers not taken by the hard seltzer category.
“We’ve always had this slight fundamental belief that beer is bigger than booze, and abv doesn’t equal quality or flavour,” he said. “When we started the business we considered launching mid or lower-alcohol beers as well, but the timing wasn’t right. At that time things needed to be more binary.
“Now, all the data is out there showing how many consumers are moderating. We know the vast majority of moderate occasions don’t involve sobriety and over 80% of people who drink no and non-alcoholic beers are also drinkers.”
Hannaway admitted the move into alcohol was also partially driven by increased competition in grocery for alcohol-free beer. Infinite Session is listed nationally by Sainsbury’s, but has found other big four listings harder to come by.
“It’s been five, six years since we launched and the market has changed a lot,” he said. “You’re seeing big breweries launching new products in that space all the time, and so it gets more and more crowded and competitive.
“As much as 90% of sales [in alcohol-free] are in the grocery or online DTC space, so it’s incredibly concentrated. Nevertheless, we’re still 100% committed to growing Infinite Session and believe the brand has a great future alongside our new venture in Brisk.”
Brisk is slated for launch in September and will have an rsp of £2 per 330ml can.