Germans, famous the world over for their beer-drinking, are taking to the alcohol-free versions in increasing numbers, according to a survey by a market research company published in Berlin on Thursday.
Alcohol-free beers and beer blends took a share of 6.5 per cent of the market last year, up from 2.7 per cent 11 years ago.
“Alcohol-free is the only variety when it comes to beer that has increased its share every year for the past 10 years,” Marcus Strobl of market researchers Nielsen said.
Consumption in Germany is now around 5 litres per head, up from less than 4 litres five years ago. The figures are based on the retail trade, and exclude beer consumed in pubs, clubs and restaurants.
Strobl distinguishes different generations of alcohol-free beer drinkers. “The reasons for drinking alcohol-free beer have broadened increasingly,” he said.
Up to 2000, the main market was for vehicle drivers. The next generation around 2010 were beers “that stressed being isotonic and were in the direction of sports drinks.”
More recently, alcohol-free beers blended with fruit sodas or lemonades are being seen as an alternative to soft drinks.