Saturday, 8 June 2019

Zero preparation

The other day, I was in a pub where a guy went up to the bar and very decisively ordered a Heineken Zero. Nothing unusual about that, maybe, but in general people would either ask generically for a non-alcoholic beer, or ask slightly sheepishly what non-alcoholic beers they have. That he was able to order it by name suggests it has established a strong brand identity.

Obviously a major driver behind the recent surge in interest in alcohol-free beers is a growing concern about health and wishing to cut down in general on alcohol consumption. However, this sparked the thought that there may well be another motivation on the part of brewers.

In the future, there is likely to be a growing trend to restrict or prohibit entirely the advertising of alcoholic drinks. So far, there hasn’t been much movement on this issue in the UK, and the public health lobby currently seems distracted by sugary and fatty foods. However, it is eventually going to happen. So creating alcohol-free range extensions could be a good way of keeping your brand name in the public view even if advertising of the main product has been banned.

Alcohol represents a much more diffuse target than tobacco, as it comes in a wide range of varieties and strengths, and it also attracts a huge amount of commentary both from journalists and non-professional writers. Thus it would be a lot more complex to impose advertising restrictions. However, the tide is clearly flowing in that direction. Maybe eventually they would prevent alcohol-free drinks sharing brand names with alcoholic ones, but it wouldn’t be a straightforward process. And alcohol-free variants may at least buy the brewers some time.

9 comments:

  1. I saw the Heinken 0.0 being served on draught (through a weird plastic bubble type dispenser) in an upmarket pub in Great Ayton. So perhaps some brand recognition for Low Alcohol beers is possible.

    I asked for a non alcoholic option in Dudley last week and was offered coke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Stafford Mudgie9 June 2019 at 11:00

      - and it's not as if you bear any resemblance whatsoever to Michael Gove !

      Delete
    2. Professor Pie-Tin9 June 2019 at 20:33

      So long as he doesn't bear a resemblance to Rory Stewart.
      The midwife must have slapped his mother.

      Delete
    3. I think Martin looks a bit like Gove ���� ahead of the game as usual Mudge with this post...you'll look back in ten years and be proved right I suspect
      Britain Beermat

      Delete
  2. All asking for a niche product by name means is surely just that they've been there before, even if it was just the previous round.

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  3. I personally have been waiting for a suitable alcohol low (refuse to use free) drink for a good thirty years as an alternative to diet coke. Now finally they are starting to emerge in a format that is bearable/ palatable- Adnams & Heineken zero in particular. Now that some choices are available I am starting to look for the better ones,but not yet ask by brand,but it will come. I personally don't feel the market is sophisticated enough to be offering these brands in a sophisticated attempt to pre-empt & thereby circumvent alcohol brand name brands ban - but as a scientist don't dismiss the possibility. I feel they are still just trying to capitalise on a growing market, though accept I may be too trusting on this matter.

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    Replies
    1. Capitalising on a growing market segment is certainly the main motivation, but I'm pretty sure the idea of an insurance policy against advertising bans will have occurred to marketers.

      Delete
  4. The Stafford Mudgie9 June 2019 at 11:03

    Thirty years ago Whitbread's White Label was meant to be the start of something big but it didn't happen.
    None of us really knows if it will be any different now.

    ReplyDelete
  5. On advertising, in the 70's and 80's in Finland advertising alcohol products above 2.8%abv wasn't allowed so the breweries had a low alcohol pilsner called "I" which was widely advertised. Everyone new that what they really were marketing was higher alcohol lagers "III" and "IV".

    ReplyDelete

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