How The Biggest Alcohol Brands Have Launched Successful Nonalcoholic Drinks

Forget FOMO – there’s a newer trend that the youngsters are talking about: NoLo (no-alcohol and low-alcohol). A trend that’s shaking up the scene in the alcoholic beverage industry. Driven by a surge in health-conscious choices and Dry January’s social media roar, “NoLo” beverages are giving traditional drinks a run for their money. But what’s this doing to the big alcohol brands facing pub closures and declining sales?

They’re getting smart. Instead of clinging to the old, they’re innovating with delicious, stand-alone non-alcoholic options that cater to a growing audience who wants the social clink without the consequences. From familiar labels sporting fresh colors to entirely new brands bubbling up various changes are rewriting the alcoholic beverage landscape. 

So, buckle up for a refreshing dive into the world of NoLo. We’ll explore the reasons behind this shift and dissect the strategies employed by these iconic alcohol brands. 

Delving Into the Reasons Behind the NoLo Boom Among Alcohol Brands 

Heineken one of the most popular alcohol brands spent 10% of its digital advertising budget on promoting its non-alcoholic beer, Heineken 0.0. The largest spirits brand, Diageo, acquired major stakes in the popular non-alcoholic beverage brand Seedlip a couple of years ago. What do all these measures indicate? That the world’s favorite alcohol brands are now making a big entrance into the non-alcoholic beverage market. But why the change? Let’s find out: 

Dry January has been a catalyst 

The concept of Dry January was born when Emily Robinson, founder of the Dry January campaign decided to give up alcohol in January 2011 in order to find more energy to train for a half-marathon she had coming up in February. 

The overall health improvements she observed initiated conversations and slowly in the year 2013, the first ever Dry January campaign was launched. The very next year, the campaign gained momentum with various organizations and local authorities advocating the idea. By 2016, about 14,000 people signed up for the Dry January challenge and the number grew to 175,000 in 2023. 

Over the years, several major alcohol brands have joined the movement with creative Dry January campaigns. Of course, these campaigns would have made no sense if these brands spoke about going alcohol-free without selling alcohol-free drinks. Hence they have also introduced various non-alcoholic beverages. 

Changes in consumer preferences 

The Millennials have been known to be health-conscious. Gen Z and Gen Alpha seem to be following in their footsteps. In fact, data shows that alcohol consumption among Gen Z is about 20% less than that among Millennials. In general, there has been a rise in the sober-curious trend which involves the limiting of alcohol consumption. 

All of these facts mean that the future consumers that the alcohol brands need to think about are not so much in favor of alcohol after all. So, it’s time for them to embrace the shift in preferences. 

Scope for growth 

Data shows that the global marketing for NoLo beverages which was valued at 23.41 billion in the year 2022 is projected to reach 39.37 billion by the year 2031 with a CAGR of 6.09%. In summary, the non-alcoholic beverage segment is thriving and hence the shifted focus is an attempt to tap into the scope for growth. 

Untold strategic benefits 

According to Statista, the global alcoholic beverages market is saturated. Therefore, diversifying their offerings is one way for alcohol brands to stay ahead of the curve. Besides, branching out and offering more non-alcoholic drinks that are on par with their alcoholic counterparts in taste, flavor, and experience, is one way for brands to display their innovative streak and keep impressing their audience. 

For all these reasons and more, well-known alcohol brands have now ventured into the NoLo segment. But have they been effective in promoting their non-alcoholic drinks without diluting their main brand? What kind of shifts have they implemented in their marketing approach for these non-alcoholic drinks? Here’s a quick overview. 

Alcohol Brands That Have Successfully Adapted to the NoLo Trend 


Heineken is one of the first alcohol brands to introduce a non-alcoholic drink and sustain itself in the segment successfully. Launched in 2017, Heineken 0.0 now reportedly accounts for about 7% of the brand’s sales

So, how does Heineken differentiate its non-alcoholic beer from its alcoholic beverages? 

A refreshed packaging 

Heineken is currently one of the most well-established alcohol brands. To ensure that their non-alcoholic beverage remains connected to this strong brand identity, the Heineken 0.0 packaging design is very similar to the packaging of the original alcoholic version. 

However, to capture the difference, the brand uses a different color scheme along with “0.0” being prominently displayed on the packaging. 

Promoting change 

So, how does Heineken promote its non-alcoholic beer? The Now You Can campaign is one of the most prominent campaigns from the brand for Heineken 0.0. For this, the brand tapped into the concept of exclusion that prevails among social gatherings where non-drinkers feel excluded. The ad gives a peek into how this has been the norm throughout history and how Heineken 0.0 breaks this trend and allows non-drinkers to be part of social drinking moments without sacrificing their sobriety. 

Creating memorable experiences 

When promoting something new, as with promoting non-alcoholic drinks from an alcohol brand in this case, it is all about showing your product in action. Heineken achieved this for Heineken 0.0 with its outdoor campaign in Brazil. This campaign featured an outdoor bar within a billboard serving Heineken 0.0 to drivers on the road. The idea was to capture the idea that this non-alcoholic version makes it possible to drink beer even when driving. 


Carlsberg is yet another globally acclaimed alcohol brand with non-alcoholic offerings like Carlsberg 0.0. This light and refreshing drink is also promoted as a low-calorie beverage to compete with other non-alcoholic beverages like the classic sodas from Pepsi and Coca-Cola known to be calorie-dense. 

Packaging design variation 

Similar to Heineken’s approach, Carlsberg also adopts an on-brand packaging for its non-alcoholic beverage. The packaging looks very similar to the alcoholic drinks from the brand except for the updated color and the “0.0” branding on the label. 

Leveraging celebrity endorsement 

To promote their alcohol-free beer, Carlsberg chose a timeless strategy – celebrity endorsement. Featuring Mads Mikkelsen this ad with its stylish visuals has an overall chic air about it. With a hint of humor to align with the brand’s tone of voice the ad also adds more depth by creatively using the brand’s tagline and promoting Carlsberg 0.0 as “Probably the best beer in the world”. This again highlights the impact that a well-crafted brand tagline can have in branding. 

Delivering a strong social message 

Creating campaigns that deliver a strong social message builds a positive brand image, engages the audience, and provides brand differentiation as well. To tap into all these benefits when promoting their non-alcoholic beer, Carlsberg created the below post.

The post discusses the dangers involved in drinking when skiing and provides an alternative for skiers to still enjoy their favorite holiday drink sans alcohol. 

KIMP Tip: Since social media is filled with visuals, you need something catchy to stand out, for your message to be loud and clear. Animated videos and videos with animated typography, like the one used by Carlsberg in this case, can be impactful in such cases. 

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Capitalizing on seasonal marketing 

As we briefly discussed earlier, the growing popularity of the Dry January trend is one of the reasons why major alcohol brands hopped on to the NoLo trend. So, Carlsberg crafted the below post for its Dry January campaign. It showcases the non-alcoholic beverage range offered by the brand – perfectly in time for when people are looking for alcohol-free brews to celebrate Dry January. 


Dubbed Ireland’s national drink, Guinness is one of the oldest and largest alcohol brands in the world. The brand also holds the patent behind a revolutionary tech in the world of beer can packaging design, the widget, a component placed in some canned beers to produce a creamy head similar to what you might experience from a draft pour.

The brand also went on to win the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1991. A brand with a history of innovating and staying ahead, naturally cannot stay behind and stay blind to evolving market trends. So they did join the NoLo trend and introduced Guinness 0.0, their signature non-alcoholic brew that reportedly consists of the same natural ingredients that impart the iconic taste to their classic beer. 

Retaining the iconic packaging design 

The Guinness brand identity is characterized by strength, heritage, and a hint of luxury. They replicated a similar aesthetic for their non-alcoholic brew as well. And as with other alcohol brands, Guinness creates visual differentiation by using the color blue in their non-alcoholic brew, a representation of refreshment. 

Seasonal campaigns 

Did you know that spirits sales increase by about 153% over St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Several such holidays bring about an increase in the sale of alcoholic drinks. But that also means a strong market for non-alcoholic beverages in recent times, especially for the sober-curious folks and non-drinkers who wish to feel included in social gatherings. Tapping into this market, Guinness crafted the below commercial to promote Guinness 0.0 on St. Patrick’s Day. This was part of the “Make it a St. Patrick’s Day to Remember” campaign. 

Seasonal marketing campaigns like this one can be effective especially when promoting new products like Guinness 0.0 in this case. 

Additionally, the brand gave away free pints of Guinness 0.0 in 300 locations across Ireland as a measure to drive awareness about the product. 

Focus on the sensory appeal 

The smooth creamy finish thanks to the nitrogen in their beer is what Guinness is known for. Naturally, their velvety foam-topped beverages are an integral component in most of their commercials. This is how they impart a sensory appeal in their ad designs. They also follow this approach when promoting Guinness 0.0. 

The below video they shared for Dry January is a good example of how they deploy stunning visuals to appeal to their target audience. 

Sustainability-focused campaigns 

Data shows that products marketed with their sustainability highlighted grow about 2.7 times faster than others. Consumers are also more in favor of brands that put sustainability first. Guinness tapped into this sentiment and highlighted the decision to use recycled aluminum in their cans to put Guinness 0.0 in the spotlight. 

Staying on brand 

One of the biggest challenges faced by alcohol brands promoting non-alcoholic drinks is that they need to promote something that’s a direct contrast to what they have been selling – how they have defined their brand. Hence, the need to promote their non-alcoholic drinks without diluting their main brand is crucial. 

Guinness has been achieving this effectively in promoting Guinness 0.0. Take the below ad for example. 

This ad features one of the most iconic mascots associated with the Guinness brand, most importantly in the local market. After a visually engaging campaign featuring illustrated animals created to promote Guinness in 1935, the Toucan became an integral component, an easily recognizable mascot of the brand in the U.K. 

In a recent campaign, Guinness deployed this iconic mascot to promote their non-alcoholic brew and to ensure that the product benefits from the brand’s authority in the market. 

Similarly, brands promoting new products can tap into the strength of the core brand image by incorporating signature brand imagery, mascot, and other brand elements like signature colors, icons, and fonts. 

Go Diversify Your Brand & Dazzle With Designs By KIMP 

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