Alc to Non-Alc to Healthy?

Some of the more interesting recent beverage news has come from reports that Diageo bought a non-alcoholic brand called Seedlip in the UK and ABI’s venture fund purchased the low-alcohol kombucha brand called Kombrewcha.  ABI’s venture fund has also reportedly been looking at several other non-alcoholic investments.

Why are they doing this? Are the alc and non-alc worlds overlapping?  Is it all about filling up the same distribution platforms?  Are there lessons in disruption and innovation that beer and spirits suppliers can gain from investments in the non-alcoholic world?  The answer is probably all of the above.

But there is probably another reason as well:  alcoholic brands in general want to gain from the healthy halo effect.  There’s likely no better evidence of this than the number of healthier-for-you alcoholic seltzers and spiked teas out on the market from independents (Spiked Seltzer) and major suppliers (Truly Spiked & Sparkling from Boston Beer, Smirnoff Spiked Seltzer from Diageo, and Easy Tea from MillerCoors).  (Bloomberg, August 18, 2016)

All of these launches are proof that the health and wellness segment is here to stay, it’s mainstream across the entire country, and it’s the direct link to the consumers that alcoholic suppliers most want to attract and to the occasions (e.g., post-yoga class) they want to be a part of in the future.