Upmarket retailer Waitrose & Partners has teamed up with Diageo to introduce dedicated areas for low and alcohol-free drinks in approximately 253 stores across the UK.
Waitrose offers an assortment of more than 70 low and alcohol-free drinks, ranging from beer and cider, to wines and spirits.
The introduction of dedicated areas means 60% more space will be given to low and alcohol-free drinks across the retailer's estate, Waitrose added.
Pierpaolo Petrassi, master of wine and head of beers, wines and spirits at Waitrose said, "Demand for low-alcohol and alcohol-free drinks is growing at a phenomenal rate. It’s now the norm for customers to buy both. We expect this year to be the biggest year to date for sales and are preparing for strong demand at Christmas.
"The growth is down to our customers wanting to moderate their alcohol consumption, but is also heavily driven by the creation of new, great quality new drinks such as Guinness 0.0, Tanqueray 0.0 and Gordon's Pink 0.0. We’ve added 10 new low and alcohol-free products this year and will launch more before Christmas."
Growth In Demand
Waitrose added that sales of low alcohol and alcohol-free drinks grew by 20% at its stores over the past year, with beer witnessing the fastest increase.
Nuno Teles, managing director of Diageo GB, said, "We know that UK drinkers are becoming more sophisticated and thinking more about how much they drink, the alcohol-free and low-alcohol category plays a critical role in providing quality choices for those looking to moderate, without compromising on experience.
"[...] Diageo has a long-standing commitment to promote responsible drinking and this partnership demonstrates what is possible when brands and retailers work together to enable greater consumer choice and experience."
Low- And N0-Alcohol Drinks
Some 99% of UK shoppers have bought both low- and no-alcohol drinks over the past year, according to data from Kantar.
Nearly half of UK adults (47%) are switching between alcohol and low and alcohol-free drinks at social occasions, while two-fifths (40%) of adults say they want to moderate their drinking, a separate study by Kantar showed.
Neil O'Brien MP, minister for primary care and public health welcomed the initiative and added, "The government wants to create a supportive environment to help individuals who want to reduce their alcohol consumption, including through encouraging substitution of alcoholic drinks with no and low alcohol alternatives."