If you've visited our blog before, you may have noticed a slightly annoying habit of ours—we keep bringing up the Americans! Honestly, we just can’t help ourselves. What happens across the pond influences what happens on our small island... especially when it comes to craft beer.
After all, a cheeseburger-eating, basketball-playing, lager-loving American is responsible for the monthly drivel churned out on this blog. Favourite pastimes aside, craft beer trends continually wash up on our shores and influence our craft beer scene.
Just think about when you tuck into your next West Coast IPA, Hazy Pale, or Pastry Stout.
Anyway, we’re journeying back to the colonies to discuss Super Bowl LVII (that’s 57 for the uninformed—who are they kidding with Roman numerals anyway?).
Plenty of drama took place on the ol’ gridiron. Rihanna danced with marshmallows. The Kansas City Chiefs won at handegg. During the spectacle of it all, we found ourselves focusing on one thing: beer adverts.
Multiple TV ads were run by one of a brewing behemoth. While this isn’t surprising in itself, the shock set in when we realised the campaign was for non-alcoholic beer.
American football, also known as handegg, is slowly gaining momentum in the UK. NFL teams play in London each year. Many taprooms and beer bars host Super Bowl watch parties each year. Yet, with the original football reigning supreme on our island, it's entirely possible that you haven't heard of the Super Bowl.
What is the Super Bowl, then? It’s the biggest game of the year for the most popular sport in America. It’s also one of the largest sporting events in the world. Each year, hundreds of millions of people watch the crowning of the “world champions.”
The 57th bowl of superiority pulled in the second-highest US ratings ever with an estimated 113 million viewers nationally. The game also pulls in a significant global audience. Its most recent tally of nearly 210 million viewers is only surpassed by the UEFA Champions League and World Cup finals.
Naturally, with so many people watching, the Super Bowl is prime real estate for big business to steal a few seconds of people's attention. And they pay a hefty price tag. One thirty-second ad runs upwards of $7 million. And no one spends as much on Super Bowl adverts as big beer.
Until this year, AB InBev had enjoyed a thirty-year monopoly on Super Bowl ads due to exclusive marketing rights. From 2010 to 2020, the brewing giants led all brands in super bowl advertising with Bud Light on top and Budweiser in 3rd. (Yes, they are different beers, one has less water added than the other).
Bud Light ran more ads during the super bowl than any other brand from 2010 to 2020
Image source: Statista
Even though they relinquished their reign of dominance, AB InBev still managed to spend $52 million on TV adverts. But they did leave the door open for other beer brands.
Heineken went all in with TV ads for their 0.0% ABV offering. This was accomplished with the help of Paul Rudd suited up as Marvel’s Ant-Man.
We won’t link to the ads. Surely you can find them online with minimal effort. What’s exciting about the NA campaign was the message being sent to viewers. The unique selling point was “you can drink on the clock.” You can now enjoy the same “taste” of regular Heineken but without the negative effects of alcohol.
Sounds good, right? It's almost like someone on their marketing team read our blog on the benefits of drinking non-alcoholic beer , but we digress...
Anyway, as far as getting the same taste without the booze, US drinkers must agree—Heineken sits well at the top of the non-alcoholic category in America.
We’re not so excited to see big brewers take market share. However, we are elated to find non-alcoholic beer being presented on the world stage as a quality beverage. We started Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing because we wanted to prove that you could get the same great taste of full-fat beer without alcohol.
This blog is our perpetual soapbox where we re-emphasise that many UK breweries, including yours truly, have elevated the no/low beer scene. Not everyone wants to drink alcohol and we think that’s perfectly fine.
Lager Day Saints took Gold at the European Beer Challenge
Image Source: European Beer Challenge
Hell, our beers have won several awards. Lager Day Saints, our 0.5% lager took a gold medal at the European Beer Challenge in 2022. And that was competing in the full-strength category of Lite American Lager—take that AB InBev!
A 2022 report from IWSR shows that non-alcoholic beer is trending upward here in the UK and around the world. It was found that the value of no/low alcohol had grown by more than 6% to a total of $10 billion.
The drinks analytics group predicts that the no/low alcohol category will increase in volume at a rate more than 10 times that of the regular alcohol industry. The primary driver of this ravenous spike is drinkers looking for moderation. Rather than teetotaling, they are looking for tasty alternatives to lower their alcohol intake.
While not the largest consumers of no/low alcohol beverages, we in the UK are one of the fastest-growing segments. In 2022 we saw a volume increase of 17% from 2021, second only to the US (31%).
The ISWR study also found that 37% of adults who purchased no and low-alcohol products did so “to avoid the effects of drinking alcohol.” Like Ed Norton, we are Jack’s (or Jill’s) complete lack of surprise.
It’s nice to see the real market analysis that backs up the things we’ve been saying. Crack a cold one and peruse through our stories on this blog to see for yourself.
As a small independent brewery, we sometimes feel the odds are stacked against us. Not only are we competing with the oversaturated craft beer market, but we are constantly having to explain why we exist. Unfortunately, low-alcohol and especially non-alcoholic beers have a bad reputation in this country.
Luckily, the tides are turning. More breweries are joining SiWC in putting out full-flavoured and well-brewed NA beers. If you’re not up to speed on good no/low beers, drop what you’re doing right now and go order one of our mixed packs!