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Lower alcohol wines: What are the opportunities – and the challenges? (Excerpt)

Lower alcohol wines: What are the opportunities – and the challenges? (Excerpt)


Source: Beverage Daily

By Rachel Arthur



Consumer interest in health and wellness is opening a door for lower alcohol beverages. But does this actually translate into sales in the wine category?


Wine Intelligence says lower alcohol wines still face the challenge of becoming a regular choice for drinkers, and such products must ensure they meet all aspects of consumers’ expectations and demands.


But as a trend for moderation gathers pace, lower alcohol wines do have the potential to grow in multiple markets, it says.


Wine for enjoyment


There are three main issues that prompt consumers to choose wine with a lower ABV: health, a rejection of a binge drinking culture, and taste.


“Consumers believe lower alcohol wines contain less calories, fit into diets better, and are generally healthier than other wines,” Wine Intelligence told BeverageDaily.


“They are also motivated to purchase lower alcohol wines for lifestyle and cultural reasons. In a culture where alcohol is seen first and foremost as an ‘intoxicant’, consumers are increasingly motivated by products which allow them to enjoy wine whilst minimising the negative effects associated with binge drinking and alcoholism.


“As drinking in moderation continues to become a cultural norm, encouraged by governments, lower alcohol wines are increasingly allowing drinkers to fit in with this idea.


“And some consumers simply enjoy the taste of lower alcohol wines, and enjoy drinking these products with meals.


“This is especially apparent in the German market, where many of the traditional wine styles are lower in alcohol.”


Inconsistent growth


But do these factors actually translate into tangible sales? Wine Intelligence says that there is definitely interest in these products, but growth so far has been inconsistent.


“This could be because existing products do not meet consumers’ expectations, for example regarding taste or price, and as such are not becoming part of drinkers’ regular beverage portfolios,” it says.


“Therefore, while the interest is there and is growing, it hasn’t necessarily translated into growth of sales yet, as what is available may not satisfy consumers’ needs.”


A key challenge for the industry, therefore, is to produce lower alcohol wines that meet expectations.