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Cheers to non-alcoholic beverages


Novocastrians are consuming 11 times more non-alcoholic beer than they did this time last year, and the numbers are rising. 

After launching its locally brewed, 100% plant based, low-calorie thirst quencher NORT in 2020, Merewether-based business Modus Operandi has seen Newcastle drinkers surge toward what it calls a sober curious lifestyle. 

In fact, NORT is taking the lead as its fastest growing category, with sales up 1100% compared to 2021. 

NORT creator Jaz Wearin

The brew’s creator, and Modus Operandi co-founder, Jaz Wearin believes the rise in popularity of non-alcoholic beers is here to stay. 

“The non-alcoholic category has seen a tremendous amount of activity during the past year with sales skyrocketing as Aussie’s continue to question and change their attitudes towards their own health and wellbeing,” she says. 

“People are always searching for ways to create a more balanced lifestyle, and I wanted to offer Aussies a non-alcoholic beer that is carefully crafted and rich in flavour. A beer that could be enjoyed after a hike or surf without feeling guilty or fuzzy afterwards. NORT is able to provide Aussies with a real beer taste, low calorie intake and a drink that is vegan and 99% sugar free.” 

The McGuigan Zero label is Australia and the UK’s #1 selling no-alcohol wine brand

The trend is much the same in the neighbouring Hunter Valley with McGuigan Wines seeing much the same with its non-alcoholic wine called Zero. 

Since its launch in 2018, the Zero brand has been smashing sales records.

“McGuigan Zero is Australia and the UK’s number one selling no-alcohol wine brand, selling more than 600,000 cases globally in the past 12 months and enjoying double-digit growth,” says Australian Vintage GM for Asia-Pacific Jeff Howlett. 

“While low and no-alcohol wine is still a small portion of the total wine market, accounting for 1.3% of volume in 2021, analysis by Wine Australia shows the category is growing by almost 600 per cent from 2017-2021 with predictions it will add another 130 per cent from 2021-2026.” 

The McGuigan Zero range is crafted by experienced winemakers taking full-alcohol wine and blending it at a state-of-the-art Buronga Hill winery, before using spinning cone technology to remove the alcohol.

The result is a full flavoured wine that tastes and looks like the real deal, without the alcohol.

Why is the demand for no-alcohol wine booming?

“Wine lovers are increasingly taking a break from alcohol. Research by our partner DrinkWise from 2021 which surveyed 3000 Australians – found a third of Australians (32%) who have reduced their alcohol consumption are using low and non-alcoholic options to cut back,” says Mr Howlett.

“Mature drinkers want to cut down often for health and calorie-control reasons, while health-focused younger customers want wine that tastes and looks like wine, without the negative side effects.

“At this time of year, no-alcohol wine appeals to Australians who are socialising and want an exciting option, for when they’re driving, at a work function, attending multiple events, or simply looking to take a break.”

McGuigan representatives have also suggested the mid-alcohol category could be the next category to experience unprecedented growth as Australians seek out ways to moderate their alcohol intake.

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