Healthy Consumers Force Drinks Firms to Adapt

Those aged between 35 and 54 are most likely to take part in the challenge and it is
thought around two-thirds of people who attempt the month-long abstinence from
alcohol succeed.

Consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious and mindful about what they
eat and drink. But what does that mean for the businesses that rely on the Brits’ love
of beer? Pubs, brewers and spirits companies are having to adapt their offerings to
remain relevant.

Douglas Scott, investment manager at Kames Capital, says: “Dry January is part of a
greater structural shift, away from beer towards spirits, towards quality products,
and towards lower-calorie options.”

This doesn’t appear to be a short-term blip. Figures from Kantar Worldpanel reveal
sales of non-alcohol beer were up 58% last summer compared with the same period
the year before. Research from Neilson found more than £43 million was spent on
non-alcoholic beer in the year to July 2018 – equivalent to around 12.2 million pints
– non-alcoholic ones at that.

Christopher Rossbach, managing partner at J Stern & Co, rates drinks makers Pernod
Ricard (RI) and Diageo (DGE). He thinks quality firms in the sector, with good
management and strong balance sheets, have little to worry about.

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