ABV limits set to relax on alcohol-free and low-alcohol beers

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Alcohol-free and low-alcohol beers will be allowed a higher ABV percentage as the government aims to prompt drinkers to cut down their alcohol intake.

The change in policy, which currently awaits the signature of the next Prime Minister, could see beers listed as alcohol-free raised to 1% ABV, with current legislation restricting the percentage to no more than 0.05%.

Low-alcohol beers which currently can’t reach more than 1.2% ABV, could see a rise of up to 3%.

READ MORE: Unilever, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s hike up prices amid inflation

The low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beer industry has been booming, with UK drinkers buying £363 million worth of the beverages in 2021, up from £192 million in 2016, according to research group IWSR.

In June, the world’s largest brewing company, AB InBev joined the growing market with the launch of its non-alcoholic beer, Corona Cero, the alcohol-free equivalent of its 4.5% ABV counterpart, Corona Extra.

Portman Group, a social responsibility body and regulator for alcohol labelling’s CEO, Matt Lambert told The Drinks Business: “The Portman Group’s own research with YouGov at the start of the year shows there is a growing appetite for low and no alcohol alternatives with one in five of those who have tried them say they are more likely to drink those products now than a year ago.”

“The research found those who drink alcohol are now also drinking low and no alcohol products on a regular basis typically to reduce their alcohol consumption when drinking socially or so they can drive friends home from a pub or restaurant.”

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