Carlsberg pins hopes on alcohol-free growth

Carlsberg is putting health at the heart of its growth strategy with plans to expand its range of non-alcoholic drinks and flavoured alcoholic sparkling waters.

The brewer’s chief executive Cees ‘t Hart told the Financial Times Carlsberg was stepping up its efforts in alcohol-free beer, where annual sales in most countries were increasing by 20-25%.

He said this would include the development of fermented beverages – a category that sits in between soft drinks and beer and has been popularised through products such as kombucha and fermented tea.

Carlsberg said the alcohol-free category was set to grow five times faster than beer in the next five years. It has recently launched a new alcohol-free beer, Special Effects, in the UK in partnership with Brooklyn Beer that now accounts for 30% of Brooklyn’s UK sales.

It is also pushing into hard seltzers — alcoholic, flavoured, low-calorie carbonated water – including through its Somersby cider brand.

“Consumers are looking for an offering that is healthy, low- or no calories, and no additives. We have an asset: brewing, and knowledge of fermented drinks,” Hart told the paper.

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