O’Neill’s has reported a 56% increase in low and no alcohol category sales versus the same period last year.
The Mitchells & Butlers operated chain credited the rise in mindful drinking habits and the introduction of Heineken 0.0 on draught, via HEINEKEN’s Blade countertop dispense system, as key drivers of this growth.
The pub chain estimated it served 10,000 pints of draught Heineken 0.0 on Blade in year one.
With 18m drinkers seeking to moderate their alcohol consumption, low and no options are becoming a must stock feature for the nation’s pubs and bars. Irish-themed pub chain O’Neill’s is the latest to capitalise on this growth with Marketing Manager James Ireson reporting; “If we take year on year percentage figures, we’re seeing approximately 56% growth across the category, which is huge.”
O’Neill’s Marketing Manager, James Ireson
The Mitchells & Butlers operated group credited the rise in mindful drinking habits amongst UK consumers, as well as the introduction of Heineken 0.0 on draught thanks to Blade, as key reasons behind the success. As Ireson explains, “this increase spans across multiple time slots with no fixed period. No & low options give people the flexibility to enjoy a beer whatever the time of day, whether they’re out for a work lunch or the designated driver when at the pub watching live sport or music.”
With non-alcoholic packaged lager sales booming, O’Neill’s saw an opportunity for further growth within the category and decided to introduce Blade’s draught dispense system, enabling them to serve freshly tapped alcohol-free pints for the first time. According to Ireson, the pub chain estimated it served a staggering 10,000 pints of draught Heineken 0.0 in year one alone, where previously they were restricted to only bottled format.
After a successful trial in January 2019, the chain decided to roll-out 40 Blade units to the entire estate ahead of the Rugby World Cup in September. In expectation of even greater demand for alcohol-free options due to early kick-off times, Ireson and the team also added a pre-sale breakfast option with Heineken 0.0 to the menu which saw great results and allowed them to “alleviate pressure on the kitchen.” The availability of Heineken 0.0 on draught proved a hit with consumers wanting the full match experience without the alcohol.
Ireson also emphasises the importance of experience in encouraging on trade visits, adding; “We know that consumers are willing to pay more for a superior experience. We wanted to offer a more premium option for those moderating their alcohol intake and Blade allowed us to do just that - delivering an improved drinking experience with freshly poured zero-alcohol pints surrounded by great atmosphere. This encourages people to stay for a second pint and in turn increases average spend.
Whilst Heineken 0.0 in packaged format is still our best-selling non-alcoholic product, we’re seeing a switch to draught across a number of outlets.”
Heineken 0.0 is now the number 1 no and low alcohol brand, experiencing 114% volume growth. Delivering over half the total value growth of the no alcohol lager category (£8.4M) in the last 12 months, Heineken 0.0 has great taste credentials, low-calorie content and premium price point. With 93% of all beer in the UK consumed in draught format, Ireson expects sales of Heineken 0.0 on Blade to continue to rise in 2020.
Operators can boost their businesses with Heineken 0.0 on Blade today. Contact your beer supplier to obtain some fantastic deals on Blade or visit https://uk.blade.shop to place orders and manage your account.
 Kantar Worldpanel
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