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‘dry January’ On The Up- But More Consumer Awareness Needed On Lower Strength Options

The Christmas break is a perfect time to unwind, but as the festivities come to a close, many of us will be pondering ways to take a more moderate approach to the New Year!  In fact, a new survey by ComRes for the British Beer & Pub Association found that over one in ten (13 per cent) of adults are planning to take part in ‘Dry January’ – higher than the 8 per cent who participated in the past.


However, for those without underlying health problems, drinking in moderation, in January and throughout the year, can form part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle.  Yet there is surprisingly limited awareness among consumers that lower strength options are available as an alternative to abstaining completely.  Some 54 per cent were not aware that there are lower strength choices, with markedly more women (59 per cent) than men (49 per cent) not knowing that there are lower-strength beers available.


The survey also discovered a thirst among consumers to be guided towards lower strength choices, finding that nearly a third (30 per cent) of adults believe that it would be helpful to have a range of alcoholic drinks labelled as ‘lower strength’ and the same proportion (30 per cent) would consider switching to lower-strength products.


Since 2011, the beer market has seen the launch of many new, lower-strength products between 2.0 per cent ABV and 2.8 per cent ABV across all levels of production. However, under current advertising rules, brewers cannot promote lower-strength drinks, as such products are not legally defined and producers are restricted from advertising approaches which make a virtue of strength. The British Beer & Pub Association is urging the Government to help change this, in particular through changes in the food labelling regulations to introduce definitions for lower strength products in addition to those for low or alcohol free drinks at or below 1.2 per cent ABV.


BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds commented: “In the past couple of years, we have seen huge innovation from British brewers in bringing new, lower-strength products to market and giving consumers greater choice. If you want to ensure you drink in moderation this January, there are now many great drinks to choose from. There is now a great range of lower-strength drinks on the market, including a diverse array of beers which are brewed with 1 to 3.5 per cent ABV, with a great range of flavours,”


“But think how much more the industry could do, if we could advertise and promote these drinks as lower strength. If you are thinking of lower-strength drink options in January, why not give these beers a try?”


Trinity PR will be working with the British Beer & Pub Association in early 2015 on its campaign to educate consumers on the increasing availability of lower strength beers as an alternative option.


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