We interview Nic Casby, UK brand director at Heineken, to discuss Heineken 0.0, its latest no alcohol beer.

What inspired the idea for Heineken 0.0?

In 2016, we recognised that the low and no alcohol category was a key growth driver for the UK on trade. The category had been steadily growing at 6.5%[1] but despite strong performance, there was a distinct lack of awareness of the category and many of those consumers who were aware of alcohol-free beer, had often had a negative drinking experience.

Off the back of this strong category and consumer insight, we launched Heineken 0.0 in March 2017. Since then, it has quickly become the fastest growing brand in the alcohol-free segment and is responsible for 70% of low and no volume sales growth.[2]

With the growing trend of healthy living, consumers are looking for natural products like beer but with low or no alcohol. Heineken 0.0 has been leading the charge thanks to its great taste, natural ingredients and the fact that it only has 69 calories.

We have a bold ambition and a great commitment to lead the premium non-alcoholic beer segment and build positive associations around drinking choices – in other words, we want to make alcohol free beer cool.

How does Heineken 0.0 maintain the quality and flavour of its alcoholic equivalent?

Brewing a great tasting 0.0% alcohol beer is no mean feat. Our master brewers spent years exploring, brewing, and tasting before they finally created a recipe defined by its refreshing fruity notes and soft malty body – perfectly balanced. Heineken 0.0 is twice brewed and fermented with Heineken’s unique A-yeast from natural ingredients. We then gently remove the alcohol through natural processes and blend to achieve a fruity flavour and slight malty notes, ensuring customers can order at the bar with confidence, knowing they will receive that same great quality Heineken product they know and love.

Heineken 0.0 was recently voted best tasting non-alcoholic lager according to consumers[3] and also won a gold medal in The 2018 Drinks Business Global Beer Competition.

A recent UCL study found that 29% of 18-24-year-olds don’t drink. Have you seen this reflected in your customer base?

It’s clear there’s been a significant shift in the way people are consuming their alcohol and this new report claiming that a third of young people now abstain from alcohol is a clear indicator of this. The low and no alcohol segment of the Beer and Cider category is seeing huge growth in terms of volume and value[4], with Heineken 0.0 being responsible for 70% of the volume sales contributing towards that growth.

One of the findings reported within The Greenpaper – HEINEKEN’s largest piece of category research – is the ‘Live Better’ trend. Predicted to add £58m to the low & no channel by 2021, more and more people are trying to lead healthier and more sustainable lifestyles, whether by watching what they eat, or moderating their alcohol intake. They want healthier low alcohol choices, without compromising on taste, and Heineken 0.0 is the perfect option for young consumers still wanting to take part in social occasions in the on-trade.

What advice would you give to bar managers looking for the right low-alcohol beer to stock?

It’s important that bar operators review their range and ensure they are stocking options to suit all customers, including those looking to moderate their alcohol consumption, or abstain completely.

As with ranging alcoholic beer and cider, there are a few things to remember about ranging low & no alcohol brands;

  1. Avoid Duplication – Given the ROS is smaller than alcoholic packaged brands, the choice of brands can be limited to one or two brands
  2. Fridge Placement – Non-prime real estate (i.e. the bottom shelf), as most of the time the request will come as “What no alcohol beer do you have?”
  3. Don’t forget cider! – Similar to alcoholic drinkers, there are both beer and cider non-alcoholic drinkers, so don’t miss the opportunity for sales! Old Mout Alcohol-Free is a great option.
  4. Taste – Since the range is tight, ensure you choose the best tasting brands for your consumer.

[1] CAGR 2012-2015

[2] CGA On Premise Measurement Data P08 (12/08/2017)

[3] Haystack Quantitative In Home Testing July 2016

[4] CGA On Premise Measurement Data P08 (12/08/2017)