0.0 abv options – At last a University Study on Drinking

If you read many of my articles you will know that I am curious about choice and passionate about the industry making it easier for consumers to have more choice as far as 0.0 abv options are concerned. To be clear 0.0 abv stands for alcohol by volume and is a standard measure of how much of the stuff is your drink. People normally look at the amount after they feel light-headed and say wow that’s strong ! The interesting thing once you are presented with 0.0 abv options people do they take advantage of it. I remember talking about the non-alcoholic beer in Spain which was included in the all-inclusive options which after a week proved too popular so they started to charge for it much to everyone’s dismay. Many of the bars I go into I am lucky to have one non-alcoholic beer one choice and this probably true in many other countries as well with Spain being the exception in terms of my travels. The good news is I think we are onto something!

A University study with credibility

So it worked this way: it was an online experiment by the University of Bristol, in the UK, and they looked at when the total amount of non-alcoholic drinks’ available to consumers when it was bigger than alcoholic options available. Generally speaking university studies hold more weight that random studies as they are seen as more accurate rightly or wrongly and carry more weight amongst the public and business in general. So what did they find ? In the study an amazing 49% of those surveyed chose a non-alcoholic drink so non 0.0 abv over an alcoholic counterpart. Although these did include soft drinks’ and alcohol-free beer. I do wonder if the choice was greater would that increase the figures. It is not my study so I can’t say although it seems to make sense also I am not aware of what the options were. ( I did ask Bristol University for a response but none was forthcoming ).

What happened when it was the other way around?

However, when the portion of alcoholic options so full on 0.0 abv ( alcohol by volume ) choices was greater than the no-ABV choices, only 26% of the consumers questioned opted for a non-alcoholic tipple. So it begs the question if the market is providing more options that means people could drink less. That is my view, not the research view. I often get asked so just to clarify if you want to be sure of the abv of a specific drink when you are out and about you can ask at the bar but I always ask to see the bottle brought to the table. In terms of bottles you will find the 0.0 abv figures on the back near the ingredients. It seems obvious but in my experience many people don’t know where to look including serving staff.

Who did the research?

The research was carried out by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC), the University of Bristol and the University of Cambridge. In terms of consumers they asked more than 800 adults who drink alcohol on a weekly basis to take part in the online experiment. So I guess we could call them “social drinkers”. See my thoughts on social drinking.

The test had a hypothetical drinks’ selection and participants were given one of four different options to make their selections. Dr Anna Blackwell, from the University of Bristol, who led the study, said: “Non-alcoholic drink options are often less prominent in restaurants, pubs and bars. “In the longer term, widening the choice available for customers and increasing exposure to non-alcoholic drinks’ could help shift social norms around drinking these products. Given the growing market for alcohol-free beer, wine and spirits, this sort of intervention is timely and of interest not only to policy-makers, but also license holders and drinks’ manufacturers.” So I guess this backs up in the way the vision for 00abv.com

So how can you help if you are a 0.0 abv champion?

The low- and no-alcohol sector has been growing rapidly over the past few years by as much as 25% so it’s interesting that there is still a difficulty in the marketplace for choice. Given the confusion around low and alcohol free drinks’ I am committed personally to 0.0 abv but I encourage choice all around. It is changing however and quickly.So what you are asking for as a consumer both for health reasons, necessity and other choice reasons is also in their interest as well. Firstly here are some points to justify your actions if you have to challenge.

  • They will grow their customer base. I know my drinking friend prefers to go and eat where I have the choice of 0.0% abv options.
  • It can contribute to their bottom line, people who drive for example can feel less left out of the social event.
  • It’s ethical so if alcohol consumption is being hailed as a problem and bars say they want to help. So over to them.

So given it’s in their interest and yours here’s how you can help yourself and in doing so help them so it’s a win for the consumer and the choices you so desire.

  • Get curious about new brands and support them, it’s a cut-throat industry by all accounts.
  • Never be afraid to ask what you want and review places that don’t offer it.
  • Give feedback to a bar or restaurant in a nice way. Explain why you want these options.

So at last a university study.

To be honest I had to search around so I am not sure how much coverage it got. A study like this helps though as it gives credibility for 0.0 abv options, for health and let’s face it enjoyment. I have often heard that the stigma is sometimes greater for those who drink compared to those who don’t, so the more choice, the better the understanding can only benefit you, me and the industry. Please let me know what you think in the comments below. I reply to all comments.

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