The opportunities in low- and no-alcohol continue to grow with the global market for low and no currently valued at $10 billion, according to IWSR. In our panel on The Lowdown on Alcohol Alternatives at Bar Convent Brooklyn, Lewie, CEO of Flyers Cocktails, delivered a breakdown of the emerging markets within non-alc and provided his take on why alternatives like cannabis beverages will take some of the share of beverage alcohol in the context of drinking occasions.

“For the first time ever in the history of food and beverage, all of the innovation and marketing budgets that come from Big Beverage cannot enter in play in the CBD and THC space,” said Lewie. “So for the first time, there’s an opportunity for founders and startups to build really good quality products, and then ideally when these companies can play in the space there’s going to be non-linear acquisitions of those companies.”

Independent Drinks Coach Dan Gasper touched on the target audience for these low- and no-alcohol beverages. Gasper gave his perspective on the role the on- and off-premise would play in the rise of these beverages and offered some perspective on the key aspects the segment must develop to further monetize its impressive growth.

“What I think a lot of retailers realized is that previously these products had been hidden amongst all the other products, they hadn’t been sign-posted,” noted Gasper. “And they recognized that consumers were actively looking for this so they helped them find it.”

Aqxyl Storms, Co-Owner of Minus Moonshine, provided an off-premise retailer’s perspective on the current opportunities within the non-alcohol segment. Storms shed light on the criteria retailers use to build out their non-alcohol inventory and shared the alternative sub-categories and non-alcohol options that customers want to see more of.

“I get a lot of customer feedback, so here’s what’s missing: people want more sippable things that taste exactly like what they used to drink or what they’re missing,” revealed Storms.

Storms emphasized the consumer demand for non-alcohol scotch, mood-enhancing spirits, and canned cocktails.

Cecilia Murrieta, Founder of JAS Alcohol-free Cocktails for Everyone, focused on her personal experience and provided some perspective on why she transitioned from alcohol to non-alcohol beverages. Murrieta shares how this experience translated to building a brand that aims to allow consumers like herself a chance to participate in drinking occasions.

“There is a moderation trend that is sweeping across key global markets now bringing with it a demand for reduced and alcohol-free alternatives,” explained Murrieta. “These are free-drinkers who are go-getters, they are non-conformists, they’re ready to go out and enjoy life with their friends and enjoy life to the fullest. They are foodies, they love to travel, they are adventure seekers and business professionals who work hard, but also want to slow down.”

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