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As liquor license and bar consultants, Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors keeps an eye on liquor product trends in Canada and beyond. The demand for low or non-alcohol drinks including beers, wines, and ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktails has increased dramatically, driven by consumer demand.
In March 2023, both the Vancouver Sun and CBC published articles about how the trend is playing out in BC, speaking to industry insiders. The following are highlights from both articles.
In Metro Vancouver, visitors to The Drive Canteen – a local snackery on Commercial Drive – will find a large selection of non-alcohol drink options curated by owner Doug Stephen. When Stephen found a space for the snackery, it was larger than he needed. Aware of the demand and lack of options in the market, he dedicated the additional square footage to what may be the largest selection of non-alcohol drinks sold by one business in the city. At the Canteen, you’ll find non-alcohol (< 1% ABV) craft beers, cocktails and wines.
Local producers, such as Phillips Brewing, Central City, and Strange Fellows, have added no- or low-ABV drinks to their offerings. Non-alcohol wines are also more readily available, including “ONES” – the only non-alcohol wine made with BC grapes. Producers Edna’s and Opus have gone all in on non-alcohol, offering many options and flavours that use natural ingredients.
Source: “Non-alcohol drinks are having a moment. Are they here to stay?”, Vancouver Sun, March 31, 2023.
Vancouver sommelier, Shiva Reddy, told CBC that “We’re getting to the point where any bar worth its salt will be taking non-alcoholic cocktails, beer, wine, seriously”.
Bar owners are increasing the number of non-alcohol or low-alcohol choices on their menus. Clayton Thornber, GM of Wind Cries Mary bar in Victoria, BC, recently updated the bar’s menu, adding more non-alcohol cocktail choices. The bar added a dedicated menu featuring non-alcohol versions of 8/10 of its house cocktails.
In 2022, the non-alcohol/low ABV market surpassed 11 billion worldwide. According to Mark Kuspira, owner of Canadian drinks distributor Crush Imports, that translates to about 20% growth in market share in Western Canada.
Source: “B.C. bars adapt to meet demand for high quality, alcohol-free drinks”, CBC News, March 26, 2023.
Time for a Non-Alcohol Inventory Audit? Thrive Advisors Can Help
If your bar or restaurant would like to offer more non-alcohol/low-alcohol drink options to customers and you’d like help curating popular products, contact the restaurant and bar consultants at Thrive Liquor & Cannabis Advisors. Our advisors are much more than liquor license consultants. We help liquor stores, bars, and restaurants with operational strategy, inventory audits and training that helps businesses succeed in BC’s competitive marketplace.