Recently, Budweiser launched a new alcohol-free beer, Bud Zero, in a partnership with ex-NBA player Dwayne Wade, an effort to offer consumers the option of enjoying a beer without the risk of a hangover. But do U.S. adults really want a non-alcoholic beer? 

To take the pulse of consumers, CivicScience asked more than 3,017 U.S. adults about their interest in non-alcoholic beers specifically and a sober lifestyle in general. 

As the data show, just about 5% of U.S. adults have some level of interest in Budweiser’s new non-alcoholic option.

However, the outlook isn’t as grim as that data may make it seem. In fact, as of data from July 5-August 4, 27% of U.S. adults who have tried non-alcoholic beer report liking it.

According to CivicScience trend adoption data over time, interest in this option overall has increased only very slightly since 2018. 

Who’s Bellying Up to the Bar ?

As of data from July and August 2020, older adults are the most likely to have already tried and liked non-alcoholic beer.

Additionally, those who drink beer twice or more a week as well as those who drink beer once a month or less are almost equally as likely to have enjoyed non-alcoholic beer. This suggests that the lack of alcohol could be a great option both for frequent and infrequent drinkers alike, who are looking to enjoy the taste of a beer without the side effects of alcohol. 

Looking ahead into the future, the majority of adult respondents believe that non-alcoholic beer will still be fairly niche in the next few years. 

Not So Sober Curious

Last year, CivicScience asked U.S. adults of drinking age how interested they were in adopting a sober lifestyle, i.e. eliminating alcohol from their life. In 2019, 26% were at least somewhat curious about this. However, in 2020, that number has fallen to 21%.

While there are several reasons why this decline could have occurred, it’s worth wondering if the stress of COVID-19 has played any role in how Americans relate to alcohol. 

As the data show below, those who are very curious about cutting alcohol from their life have experienced the least amount of stress in the past week or so. Those who aren’t as interested have experienced higher levels of stress.

Sober curious individuals have also experienced more changes to their job as a result of COVID-19–a shift that may have opened the door to approaching life from a new, alcohol-less, point of view. 

Meanwhile, those who continue to work as usual or more, could be turning to alcohol as a means of relaxation and fun during an extremely stressful time, thereby making the idea of cutting it out a highly undesirable choice.

While specific interest in the new non-alcoholic Budweiser product may not have garnered much interest just yet, there is already a steady and rising market of those who are looking to enjoy the taste of beer without alcohol. Frequent and infrequent drinkers alike have a strong interest in a product that could simulate the taste of beer without the potential for a hangover. That said, stress–especially that which has been induced by the impact of COVID-19–has a strong correlation with the continued desire to drink. So for a sober lifestyle to truly take root, a decrease in stress would be paramount.