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August 13th, 2019

Non-alcoholic Beer is Buzzing

Direct-to-office cold brew and drinks for the sober curious…
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Hey folks,

I’m writing this on Monday night at home, while drinking an All-Free, a $2.99 per can non-alcoholic, zero-calorie beer. I found this brand a month ago at a small grocery store down the street from my house. Man…it’s good. 

Fun fact about me: for years I’ve enjoyed 5 to 10 non-alcoholic beers a week. After giving up booze 6 years ago, I discovered non-alcoholic beer as I didn’t want the alcohol but still loved the taste. 

When I started drinking them, there were probably only four different brands. But in recent years, many of the biggest beer brands have dived into the non-alcoholic sector and are seeing huge growth.

And this, my fellow entrepreneurs, brings us to this week’s Trends opportunities: beverages. From cold brew to seltzer to non-alcoholic drinks, we take you inside this fast-growing category.

Here’s what we have on tap:

  1. Non-alcoholic beer: As beer sales go flat, NA beer is on the rise. Because of the wellness movement and the Middle East’s strict alcohol laws, the market is expected to grow 8% a year.
  2. Cold brew: The office is quickly becoming the daytime version of the bar. And cold brew coffee, which is expected to grow at a 25% CAGR the next few years, is moving directly into workspaces via kegs.
  3. Tempest: 50m Americans have a drinking problem, and only 1m seek help. Holly Whitaker’s startup leverages technology and social media to introduce a 21st century version of Alcoholics Anonymous.    

If you missed last week’s email, it’s available here. Our most-clicked items: A pitch deck on small hotels for millennials and a deep dive on the growing plant-based meat market.

Now let’s get to it!

– Sam of The Hustle  

PS: Love Trends? Then share it with your friends using this link. For every referral who subscribes, you’ll get $50, and your friend will get $50 off their subscription.

nonalcoholic beer image

1. The non-alcoholic beer market is buzzing

These days, people have sobered up to the idea of getting woozy while cracking a dad-soda after a long day at the office. It’s called being healthy. And it’s a multibillion-dollar industry. 

But a growing number of people aren’t becoming sober, they’re just “sober curious.” And the rising movement is giving a boost to the non-alcoholic beer market.

The need-to-know:

  • Over the next 5 years, sales of non-alcoholic beer are expected to outpace alcoholic beer (8.3% CAGR vs. 1.8% CAGR)
  • The global market is massive, with the Middle East accounting for one-third of total global sales 
  • Non-alcoholic beer features big health benefits and broader distribution opportunities than traditional beer, including fast food restaurants, supermarkets––even gyms

Where the opportunities are:

  • Throughout the production process: recipe creation, ingredient sourcing, sales, marketing, distribution, and quality control
  • Direct-to-consumer: laws restricting the sale of alcohol online do not apply to most non-alcoholic beers
  • In the “wellness” arena: smart entrepreneurs will modify current non-alcoholic offerings to include anything from dietary fibers to amino acids for your next workout

In an industry as old as the bottled canoe water business, the non-alcoholic beer market is foaming for innovation. Read this guide so you don’t miss the “hop-portunity.”

Read more here

2. Cold brew office kegs are the future of coffee

Work is much more enjoyable with a keg of coffee––whether you’re coding at a computer or playing professional baseball––and companies like Joyride and RISE Brewing Co. have introduced cold brew coffee kegs to thousands of clients, ranging from tech startups to the New York Yankees. 

But the market is far from saturated: Tech and finance companies in coastal cities have mostly embraced the keg life, and insiders believe other industries in more varied markets will join. Sales of cold brew, the fastest-growing segment of the coffee industry, are expected to reach $150m this year and grow by 25% annually in the coming years.   

Capitalize by:

  • Building a cold brew business that specializes in office kegs, particularly in underserved areas in the American Midwest and Europe
  • Distributing and managing kegs for current and future cold brew coffee companies
  • Concocting a cold brew mashup by combining the popular drink with nutrients, protein, or alcohol
Click here to read

3. News you need to know

The milk variety projected to grow faster than oat milk (Globe News Wire): Surely you’ve heard of the oat milk craze, or at least seen the empty shelves where it’s supposed to sit in your local grocery store. In the next seven years, oat milk sales are expected to grow at an 8% CAGR. But a greater opportunity exists for an old standby: soy milk. Soy milk is expected to grow at a 12% clip and already occupies about 50% of the $15B plant-based milk market. How do you get ahead of the established players? Experts say by making a healthier drink. Make a beverage that is lower in fat and lower in cholesterol than traditional offerings. 

All the hops, none of the beer (October Magazine): Brewers have been telling us about hop water for years. The drink combines the flavor of an IPA and the look and texture of seltzer water, with no alcohol. Now, regular consumers are getting hooked. Lagunitas and other craft brewers have introduced hop water products in the last few months, but the market is brand new. And hop water defeats other non-alcoholic beers in an important category: It has no calories, making it an ideal choice for the wellness movement. Here’s a primer for how to make hop water. 

The potential and pitfalls of CBD (Chicago Tribune): Sales of CBD-infused drinks totaled about $89m last year and are expected to increase to $1.4B by 2022. Big alcohol is interested, too, and will likely buy successful startups the way it has with spiked seltzer drinks. The caveat: People who already enjoy marijuana tend to not prefer cannabis-infused beverages, and CBD mixes terribly with water. 

Pink drinks (Beverage Daily): It’s millennial pink in a glass. Starbucks launched a craze with its pink drinks in 2017, and several copycats have followed, adding berries, beets, blood orange, and other ingredients to turn citrus-flavored beverages red or pink. Pink drinks are the most apparent of a larger trend: drinks that look beautiful on Instagram. Millennials and Gen-Zers desire beverages that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are tasty. 

4. The next phase in hard seltzer 

Hard seltzer is more than a 2019 summer fad. Some analysts predict the category to grow to $2.5B by 2021, from $1B this year. 

The rapid growth has led to a beverage arms race between several major brands such as ABInBev, Mark Anthony Group, Boston Beer Company, and MillerCoors. And bars and restaurants can’t keep up with the demand. 

Check out this deck to see how entrepreneurs can capitalize by distributing seltzers and developing new flavors.

5. Don’t start a brewery (until you’ve read this article)

The numbers are in––we’ve officially reached peak-brewery. 

Case in point(s):

  • There are 7.5k breweries in the United States, up from ~2k in 2011

  • Overall beer sales were down 1% last year (craft was up 4%, but that increase was lower than in recent years)

  • 27% of brewers experienced sales declines in 2017

BUT, if you’re a real hops head, don’t despair. 

It’s still possible to start a successful brewery in 2019. In this report, Scott Metzger––founder of multimillion-dollar independent brewery Freetail Brewing Company––shares his expertise on how to build a profitable ale operation. Drink from das boot of knowledge below.

Read more here

6. First non-alcoholic beers…now non-alcoholic bars?

Entrepreneur, recovering alcoholic, and former counselor Chris Marshall opened Sans Bar to create a space for adults to socialize sans booze. 

Historically, sober bars haven’t taken off in America, but with more adults dipping their toes into sober living, Marshall’s 2019 pop-up tour has garnered national attention. We profiled one man on a mission to build Starbucks for the sober-curious.

Click here to read

7. Alcoholics Anonymous challenger sees vast market for treating problem drinkers

When Holly Whitaker worked for a healthcare startup several years ago, her unhealthy relationship with alcohol turned into a full-blown addiction. She sought help but discovered only limited, expensive options that failed to serve an audience in need: Some 50m US residents have drinking problems and only 1m seek treatment. 

Whitaker founded Tempest, a startup that aims to help those 49m+ people with a drinking problem who do not choose traditional treatment options. 

She shared with us how she built her company and why she thinks Silicon Valley should focus more on the $35B rehabilitation market as alcohol, she says, follows “the trajectory of the cigarette industry.”

Read more here

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