MYTHS: Non-alcoholic Beverages

No one ever asks for non-alcoholic products

More and more people are asking for these products when they know these products are available. However, they usually don't ask, because the products are not promoted. Evidence clearly shows that people are drinking less alcohol, which means they're seeking replacement drinks. According to data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), a nationwide study of household spending, based on more than 35,000 spending records from some 25,000 U.S. households, the average American household spent 7.7 percent of its food and beverage budget on alcoholic beverages in 1984. That figure dropped to 6.4 percent in 1989 - a decline of 17 percent. Spending on alcohol dropped much faster than average in the following demographic segments:

1. Households headed by people aged 45-64
2. Households with incomes of $50,000 or more
3. Married couples living with older children, extended family or unrelated people

A December 1990 Roper Organization report showed that 29 percent of those surveyed reported they want to avoid alcoholic beverages completely. These people, combined with those who want to consume only a small amount, represented 60 percent of the sample. The public is clearly stating that it wants to drink less, and all indications are that this trend will continue. People will increasingly request alternatives if they are made available.

People don't like non-alcoholic products, because they don't taste like the real thing

Different products - alcoholic and non-alcoholic - have different tastes, each with an appeal to certain individuals. People do not necessarily drink a non-alcoholic wine, for example, in an attempt to replicate the taste of a particular wine containing alcohol. As people develop a taste for non-alcoholic products, (similar to the development of a taste for alcohol), their demand for these products increases. The unique taste of beer is a good example. When light beer was first introduced in the 1970's many regular beer drinkers rejected it. Today, light beer sales represent over 40 percent of all beer sales.

If people don't want to drink, they're happy with cola or mineral water

People who don't drink alcohol want beverage choices, just as the alcohol drinker does. They want a number of choices, and they want exciting alternatives - not just the standard fare of sodas and water. And most consumers are willing to pay comparable prices for sophisticated and quality non-alcoholic drinks as for those with alcohol.

My customers come to drink. They won't order a non-alcoholic beverage

Certainly, there are customers who come in exclusively to drink alcoholic beverages. But why aren't they bringing their friends who don't drink alcohol with them? Because the establishment has nothing to offer them. If non-alcoholic beverages were offered and promoted, nondrinkers would accompany their drinking friends, they would order the non-alcoholic products, and the establishment would increase profits.