Nearly half of UK adults say they plan to cut out or reduce their alcohol consumption in January, a study from the world’s largest brewer suggests.

A study commissioned by Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I – a subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev – found 49% of those surveyed planned to lower their consumption of alcohol this month.

The survey of 2,169 adults living in the UK was carried out in December. Respondents’ top non-alcoholic alternative was mocktails, with 34% saying they would drink a cocktail alternative. Roughly one in five (21%) said they would drink a non-alcoholic beer at social gatherings.

More than one in four of UK adults (27%) find pubs, clubs and bar visits “tough” when not drinking alcohol, the study claimed.

Some 13% of those not drinking alcohol said they would be more likely to go to a social event if non-alcoholic alternatives were available.

Marie Fukuura, future growth brands director at Budweiser Brewing Group, said: “There is a clear interest in no-and-low alternatives and, as the category continues to grow, we are seeing more and more beer drinkers look to moderate their alcohol consumption without giving up beer entirely.”

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By GlobalData

Dry January has become a key month of marketing for non-alcoholic beverage producers. US-based Athletic Brewing Co. CEO Bill Shufelt told Just Drinks it was launching its “biggest marketing” spend to date this month with the ‘Give Dry A Try’ campaign.

“We’re hoping to reach over 45 million people through the campaign and marketing impressions worldwide. That’s everything from a lot of out-of-home and sampling and definitely some broader umbrella media as well,” Shufelt said.

Growing consumer interest in non-alcoholic and lower-alcohol beverages is fuelling inorganic moves by conventional manufacturers in the sector. Athletic Brewing has attracted investment from Keurig Dr Pepper and, earlier this month, the latest deal saw Netherlands-based distiller Lucas Bols snap up non-alcoholic spirits brand Fluère.

Speaking at a Just Drinks event in September, Craig Hutchison, the founder of UK non-alcoholic drinks business Mindful Brands, said: “This category will continue to grow, outpacing alcohol for the rest of our lifetime. Until non-alcohol-consuming adults have the same amount of choice as alcohol-consuming adults have there is room for more brands.”

Low in strength, high in ambition: what does the future hold for the non-alcoholic drinks sector?