Stocking up for a sober-curious Christmas

Sales of no- and low-alcohol drinks are snowballing in the run-up to the festive break

Three Spirit, launched in 2018, sells functional non-alcoholic drinks.


How will the "sober curious" movement, where people experiment with sobriety without completely cutting alcohol out of their lives, fare over the festive period?

While the pandemic has resulted in an overall increase in alcohol consumption (up 14% year-on-year in the US according to the JAMA Network Open), for many people it has also been an opportunity to reflect on how healthy their current lifestyle is.

Brands selling alcohol-free alternatives have, as a result, seen their sales soar. Nielsen says sales of alcohol-free beers have risen 38% during the pandemic, while Athletic Brewing claims its sales have grown by more than 400%.

As the festive period approaches, this trend does not appear to be slowing, with plant-based, alcohol-free spirits brand Pentire saying that its sales for November were also up 400% year-on-year, and functional drinks brand Three Spirit seeing average sales orders increase to £65 (its bottles cost £25 a pop) in the same month. "Lockdown has been super magnifying [for the no-alc sector] as it has made us sanity check some of our habits – and one of those is alcohol consumption," Alistair Frost, Pentire's founder says. "[Over the Christmas break], people who are moderators might have a ceremonial one or two, but a few days off isn't going to change that."

Indeed, according to a recent survey from British supermarket chain Tesco, almost half of those aged under 35 plan to serve no- or low-alcohol drinks this Christmas, up 16% from last year's survey.

"December can often be better than January [in terms of sales]," Three Spirit's co-founder Tatiana Mercer says. "There's this notion of pacing. It's not like people are getting smashed every day at Christmas. [There's now] less of a stigma around having someone at the table who's not drinking."

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