Diageo x Waitrose

Waitrose said sales of the low & no-alcohol products it stocks across its estate had grown 20% in the past year

A new partnership with Diageo will see Waitrose grow the amount of shop space across its estate dedicated to alcohol-free drinks by 60%.

The upmarket grocer will introduce dedicated areas in 253 shops across the UK, a move it says will make it easier for shoppers to find low & no-alcohol drinks.

Waitrose said sales of the low & no products it stocks across its estate had grown by 20% in the past 12 months, with beer growing the fastest.

Research commissioned by Diageo and Ipsos in February, however, found seven in 10 UK adults wanted to be able to find alcohol-free drinks in store more easily.

This has led the Johnnie Walker brand owner to partner with Waitrose to introduce the new dedicated bays, which will stock 70 low & no-alcohol drinks and will not be limited to Diageo SKUs.

Nuno Teles, MD at Diageo GB, said the partnership would “make it easier for consumers to know where to find alcohol-free and low-alcohol options in store”.

“Diageo has a long-standing commitment to promote responsible drinking and this partnership demonstrates what is possible when brands and retailers work together to enable greater consumer choice and experience,” he added.

The consumption of low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks is fast becoming normalised, with 99% of shoppers having reported buying these products in the past year [Kantar Shopper Panel w/e 9 July 2023].

Additionally, nearly half of UK adults (47%) are switching between alcoholic and low & no drinks during the same consumption occasion, and 40% of adults want to moderate their drinking [Kantar Alcovision Data 31 May 2023].

In response, multinational drinks companies including Diageo, Asahi and Carlsberg have extended their flagship products into alcohol-free.

Pierpaolo Petrassi, head of BWS at Waitrose, hailed the creation of alcohol-free versions of recognisable brands as being a key factor in the category’s growth.

“Demand for low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks is growing at a phenomenal rate,” he said. “It’s now the norm for customers to buy both.

“The growth is down to our customers wanting to moderate their alcohol consumption, but is also heavily driven by the creation of new, great-quality drinks such as Guinness 0.0, Tanqueray 0.0 and Gordon’s Pink 0.0.

“We’ve added 10 new low & no-alcohol products this year and will launch more before Christmas,” he added.

Neil O’Brien, minister for primary care and public health, welcomed the initiative to signpost alcohol-free drinks to shoppers.

He said: “The government wants to create a supportive environment to help individuals who want to reduce their alcohol consumption, including through encouraging substitution of alcoholic drinks with low & no-alcohol alternatives.

“We welcome this initiative to increase the availability and improve signposting of low & no-alcohol alternatives in stores.”