Recognising an increasing demand for low and no-alcohol drinks, Tesco has launched an alcohol-free section in UK stores. This will make it the first supermarket in Britain to dedicate an area solely to drinks which are 0.5% ABV and below. In addition to their regular offerings like Brewdog’s Nanny State, Bavaria and Becks Blue beers, lesser known alcohol-free drinks like Innis and None and Franziskaner Alkoholfrei beers as well as Eisberg sparkling wines will now be more widely available in Tesco stores up and down the country.
We spoke to Jo Clark from Tesco Product Communications about the brand new initiative. She said “the reason is a growing trend in people who want to consume drinks containing no alcohol. It is also for people who want to manage their alcohol intake. It might help people who are at a social event, and maybe only want to drink one glass of wine with a slightly lower alcohol content.” When asked on what scale the alcohol-free section had been introduced, she said “in terms of stores, the products are rolled out based on the hierarchy of the store, and also based on the target audience, so in areas where the target audience is younger there might be less. However, it depends on the product roll out. New products are usually rolled out to under 100 stores then the range is expanded further.”
This is a great (if slow) improvement for the 21% of adults in Great Britain who don’t drink alcohol at all. The alcohol-free section will also aid all of those millions more people who are moderating their drinking, looking for healthier options, or just want more choice and variety. Many of the drinks that Tesco have promised to supply have previously struggled to enter the mainstream market. The growth of Britain’s non-drinking population has meant that supermarkets are crying out for a comprehensive range of alcohol-free options. All customers want high quality drinks that they can take seriously. Tesco takes almost 30% of UK grocery spending – around twice the share of its closest rivals, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons. So, if their initiative works, it will be a great long term investment into the expanding alcohol-free drinks market.
Tesco’s announcement is a big improvement from previously limited alcohol-free options in supermarkets. Club Soda members often complained that drinks were scattered on random shelves, with products often wrongly labelled or out of stock.
One of the products to be included in the new Tesco alcohol-free range is the recently created St. Peter’s Without craft ale. Steve Magnall, CEO of St. Peter’s Brewery called the coming months “an exciting time for us and the category as a whole”. He believes that Tesco has not only recognised the quality of alcohol-free options, but also their relevance as a growing sector. David Tavernor, Tesco’s world beer and no and low beer buyer, claimed “we will have a larger range than at any time in our history. We are expecting to set the gold standard on low and no alcohol drinks within grocery.”
Club Soda members have already been analysing the efforts of Tesco branches from Goodge Street in central London to Gloucester. Many are excited to be able to buy Stowford Press cider, and Eisberg and Rawson’s Retreat wines. These brands were previously normally only available in the largest branches of Tesco. However, some complain that the shelves are still poorly stocked with products scattered all over, especially in smaller stores.
Have you been eyeing up the new Tesco alcohol-free section in your local shop? Were you dazzled or disappointed? Get in touch or send us a photo to let us know what you think.