Five colorful gin tonic cocktails in wine glasses on bar counter in pup or restaurant.

How alcohol-free brands can raise the bar in their category

In recent years, the non-alcoholic drink sector has seen a continuous growth in popularity. According to data from IWSR, low/no alcohol consumption will rise by a third by 2026.

This growth has been driven by an increase in consumer interest and curiosity into the benefits of being sober and cutting down on alcohol. In Europe, 60% of alcohol drinkers are actively reducing their alcohol intake. The motivations behind this are primarily wellness-based, including improving general wellbeing (33%) and enhancing physical fitness (31%).

Gen Z in particular are taking a more moderate approach to alcohol. In the UK, 46% of Gen Zers are considered ‘substituters,’ swapping alcoholic drinks for low/no alternatives.

With Gen Z looking to cut their alcohol intake, it’s no surprise social media has also garnered a community of consumers who are looking to non-alcoholic options – particularly on TikTok, where videos tagged #sober and #sobriety have amassed a total of 5 billion views. This has also given a platform for both influencers and celebrities to get candid on their decisions not to drink and emphasise the positives that come with it.

To tap into this trend and ensure that consumers who are interested know which brands to buy from, it’s important for businesses to differentiate themselves from others in their category by raising awareness of their product USPs, creating a connection with consumers and building brand love.

With this in mind, we look at what to consider when implementing a standout creative strategy for your alcohol-free brand.

Think outside the box

If you want to make yourself known in a crowded market then it’s essential to think outside of the box, and consider tactics that are different to the usual product reviews and placement. Finesse your brand message and what you stand for to help refine creative thinking around how you could launch a campaign that will communicate these to your target customer, whilst also building brand love.

Go guerrilla

This is a great way to make noise without the need for a big budget. The key to guerrilla communication is to use surprise and/or unconventional tactics which are designed to be provocative, and often spark viral conversation. This can be in the form of a cleverly crafted OOH campaign, a consumer-engagement stunt or even witty social media content.

Sample, sample, sample

Getting your product in the hands of consumers and influential journalists and influencers is another great way to speak directly to your target audience. After all, people want to consume a drink which is delicious, so no better way to show what you have to offer than by letting them taste it for themselves. This can be done through a consumer sampling activation in a high footfall area or even a targeted media and influencer gifting campaign.

For example, when working with sparkling-wine brand La Fiesta, we conducted a media gifting programme, inviting journalists from target publications to taste the new flavours and give first-person reviews. We also provided influencers with ‘Take The Party Home’ content kits and gifted bottles which encouraged them to create their own social media content celebrating life’s little moments, showcasing La Fiesta’s brand messaging in an impactful and engaging way.

Enter the multi-verse

Outside of earned media, you should also consider how you’re going to communicate your product’s USPs across both social media and digital platforms to engage your target audience. Whether it’s organic and paid social content, building an ‘army’ of influencer ambassadors to promote your product through engaging TikToks or Instagram posts or boosting brand awareness through targeted paid search advertising, consider which tactics will resonate best with your audience to build not only consumer intrigue, but trust.

Offer something new

Global sales of alcohol-free and low-alcohol drinks topped $11 billion in 2022, with growth expected to accelerate in the coming years. This has become an established category, with a variety of options to choose from and more continuing to appear. With this in mind, it’s important to ensure you’re offering something new and exciting to grab the attention of audiences and helps to keep you front and centre in the category. This extends not just to the product itself but how you speak to and engage with your potential customers.

Understand the power of ‘always on’ comms

It’s important to not just focus on events like Dry January and Sober October. Businesses need to consider how to speak to the growing number of sober curious consumers regularly and consistently to keep brand awareness high and to capitalise on customer acquisition opportunities all year round.

If you would like to discuss how our award-winning PR and social media specialists could help your brand stand out in 2023, get in touch with our team of experts today.

Get in touch with the team