AB InBev UK is set to launch a second new low-alcohol beer, Michelob ULTRA, a premium light beer brewed at 3.5% ABV for the UK market and containing 79 calories, to meet growing consumer demand for a beer that complements a balanced, active and social lifestyle.
The launch is prompted by the rise in sales of no and low alcohol beer in the country as consumers shift towards drinking in moderation.
No-alcohol and low-alcohol beer sales increased 20% year-on-year in 2018, according to industry data of sales in supermarkets and other off-trade locations prepared for AB InBev UK by Nielsen.
The biggest growth is in alcohol-free beer, with a 27% increase in sales to over 43 million pints.
British drinkers are also demonstrating a taste for lower-strength brews – beer brewed to between 0.5% and 3.5% ABV – according to the data. In the 12 months to July 2018, consumers bought more than 86 million pints of low-alcohol beer, representing 16% growth on the same period last year.
Michelob ULTRA, which is the fastest-growing beer brand in the US for the past four years, will begin rolling-out nationwide in major supermarkets and chain convenience stores from October in 355ml sleek can format.
“We have a responsibility to help drive a shift to smart drinking, and brewing great quality low and no alcohol beer is a fundamental part of that,” said Tatiana Stadukhina, Marketing Director for AB InBev UK & Ireland.
AB InBev’s Bud Light, which arrived from across the pond in 2017, is the category leader in low-alcohol beer. It was the fastest-growing lager brand in the UK over the last 12 months, adding £30.5 million to its value with volumes growing 24 percent compared to last year.
AB InBev also wants an acceleration in its commitment of no and low-alcohol representing 20 percent of its global volumes by 2025. Three years into the 10-year commitment, UK volumes stand at around 7 percent and the company has pinned great hopes on Michelob ULTRA.