UTAH

Non-alcoholic beer sales skyrocket in Utah

Mar 8, 2024, 7:30 AM

Non-alcoholic beer sales at the grocery store....

A selection of non-alcoholic beers for sale at The Store at the Gateway in Salt Lake City, UT. (Heather Peterson/KSL NewsRadio)

(Heather Peterson/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Non-alcoholic beer sales have skyrocketed in Utah the last five years. Consumer data collected by Axios shows Utahns spent $303,654 on non-alcoholic beers in January alone.

That number is up from about $221,700 from January 2023. While these numbers may be indicative of “Dry January,” a time when people dedicate themselves to sobriety, it seems non-alcoholic beverages are becoming a year-round trend.

Why non-alcoholic beer might be loved by Utah

Hunter Lucas, manager and bartender at Slackwater in Salt Lake City, says they have seen a lot more non-alcoholic beer sales. He believes Utahns love them because they taste just as good as regular beer, but they are healthier.

“Here there are a lot of active people,” Lucas said. “So I think the market is probably a little bit higher here.”

Tim Katzgrau is the Founder of BeerForDriving.com, an app that helps people find locations that sell non-alcoholic beverages.

“It’s definitely becoming more accepted,” Katzgrau said. “There’s like a whole ‘sober-curious’ movement, and genuinely, I think people just want to be a little bit healthier.”

Katzgrau started his website after he went into liver failure at age 25. At that point, he realized he needed to change his habits, but he still liked the taste of beer and wanted to be able to participate with friends.

“Non-alcoholic beverages are a great tool to navigate social situations without feeling awkward or having people bombard you with questions about, ‘Why aren’t you drinking?'” Katzgrau stated.

Impact on alcohol sales

This movement appears to be having an impact on alcohol sales. The most recent report from Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Services shows consumption of alcohol has gone down over the last three years. Lucas does not quite see it at Slackwater, though.

“We have so many beers and it’s a big thing people come here for,” Lucas said. “The non-alcoholic beers don’t really take away from that. If anything, they just add more sales because we still charge as much as a normal beer.”

While they may not be cheaper, Katzgrau and Lucas agree: that non-alcoholic beverages are a great alternative for many people, for many different reasons. They are becoming popular, not just in Utah, but across the country.

Growing popularity, especially among younger adults

Analysts from NIQ observed that in 2023, Americans spent more than $565 million on non-alcoholic beer, wine, and spirits. That is a 35% boost from the year before.

They also found those in Generation Z, who are over 21, make up only 6% of alcohol sales in the country. On top of that, 45% percent say they have never had alcohol before. Along the same line, a recent Gallup poll discovered that younger adults are drinking less than in years prior. 62% of Americans between the ages of 18-34 reported they drink alcohol, which is a significant decline from the 72% reported two decades ago. This indicates a generational shift in beverage choices.

Katzgrau says his website, and now his app, have soared in popularity over the past few years. He believes it has nothing to do with his business-saavy, and everything to do with the increasing consumer interest in finding non-alcoholic beverages.

Related:

Portions of Utah’s alcohol profits to fund underage drinking prevention

New poll finds Utah has lowest rate of binge drinking

 

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Non-alcoholic beer sales skyrocket in Utah