The overindulgence gives way to regrets as
over-proof spirits are temporarily banished to the back of bars and minds,
providing an opportunity for lower abv and non-alcoholic alternatives to enjoy
their brief month under the limelight.
This is nothing new. In fact, this cyclical
pattern is implicitly acknowledged by key alcohol players and on-trade
establishments themselves, forms part of their strategic planning and rarely
translates into longer term abstinence. But healthier options are not based on
a binary choice between alcoholic versus non-alcoholic options anymore.
gluten-free alternatives currently taking the packaged food market by storm are
finally making inroads into this most indulgence-driven of industries.
Bakery products, baby food, pasta and ready
meals are leading the race in the rapidly advancing gluten free foods segment
which accounts for US$ 2.6 billion and boasted an impressive 10% CAGR over
2009-2014 on a global level.
Interestingly, Western Europe accounted for almost
half of the sales with North America coming second – facts underlining the
decidedly western relevance of the trend.
But can this momentum be replicated within
the alcoholic drinks arena? First and foremost, it already has- if not in the
guise of product reformulation. Cider’s meteoric rise in the US market is
largely relevant to the category’s naturally gluten-free attributes (alongside
the savvy promotional campaigns underscoring the fact as a unique selling
Spirits are also naturally gluten free – even though some recent
launches seem to have only just got the memo and wear it as a badge of honour.
That leaves beer and is largely related to
the category’s tenuous relationship with the ever elusive female demographic.
Is there space for beer alternatives riding the gluten-free wave? The answer is
a resounding yes but such products will never be more than a very dynamic
niche. In an era where authenticity and bold craft expressions are dictating the
rules of the game, indulgence rather than health and wellness will remain the
main driving force for the overall category.
However, that niche can provide a solid
argument for mainstream brewers trying to entice female drinkers. Peroni should
-Yet to be named- gluten-free IPA from
The Bellfield Brewery
A brewery which claims to be the UK’s first
to produce only gluten-free beers is due to open in Edinburgh next year. The
Bellfield Brewery is currently testing a premium gluten-free IPA beer before
its release next year. A stout, a lager and other styles of beer will follow
Having established a small-scale brewing site in Edinburgh, the
company is now seeking GBP250, 000 (US$392,000) to scale up production to meet
what its founders claim is a largely untapped market.