Americans are drinking less beer, and this month people worldwide will be participating in ‘Dry January.’ But beer companies are trying to work around those obstacles and keep customers.
Beer makers Heineken and Molson Coors are using the month-long sobriety challenge as a marketing tactic. Both companies are debuting non-alcoholic beers to entice customers who are shying away from the beverage due to health concerns or a shift toward trendier drinks like hard seltzers.
Dry January started in the U.K. in 2013 but has quickly spread worldwide, including in the U.S., where one in five people surveyed is participating in the event.
In the U.S., alcohol consumption has continued to fall in recent years, with some consumers being called “sober-curious” and trying to go sober for other months of the year.
The change has been impacting beer companies. In 2018, beer consumption in the U.S. had dropped 1.6 percent, according to data from IWSR, with cider and hard seltzers taking some customers away from beer and younger customers drinking less overall.
But beer companies are adapting, with the help of nonalcoholic beers. Nonalcoholic/low-alcohol beer is the fifth fastest growing beer type in the country, and data shows that the most frequent consumers tend to be men between the ages of 21 and 44 years old.
In response to that, Heinken and Coors debuted their own takes on the style.
Heinken’s beer is Heinken 0.0, which launched in January 2019. This year, the company is giving away cans of that beer in its 31-can January Dry Pack, which customers can claim at januarydrypack.com.
Coors’ beer is a low-alcohol style called Miller64. The company is promoting it through an ad featuring actor Nicholas Braun of “Succession” asking customers to participate in Dry January. The beer is low on calories and is aimed at health-conscious consumers.
That branding comes as Coors is changing its brand, including changing the name from Molson Coors Brewing Co. to Molson Coors Beverage Co. It is also undergoing a restructuring effort that will result in the elimination of around 400 to 500 jobs.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, meanwhile, is testing out its Budweiser 0.0 beer, having sampled it a few times in the U.S. in 2019 and debuted it in India, but otherwise it hasn’t revealed any plans to release it in the U.S. yet.