With the launch of Heineken 0.0 this past January – along with a $50 million advertising budget for the brew, according to AdAge – the number of Americans giving non-alcoholic beer a shot is on the upswing.

A look across the Atlantic to Germany may point in the direction non-alcoholic brews are headed – and it would be a brand new market for breweries to explore.

According to a CivicScience study, over the last year, there has been a steady increase in consumers who have tried and liked non-alcoholic beers and even an increase in people who have tried and not liked it.

Furthermore, the amount of people who are completely uninterested in trying non-alcoholic beer is steadily decreasing.

Overall, Generation X and Baby Boomers were much more likely to have tried non-alcoholic beer than the younger generations, but they were also much more likely to have not liked the experience. This might be attributed to the lack of options in the space going back a few decades, compared to today.

The study also looked down the road a bit, asking 33,672 U.S. adults if they thought non-alcoholic beer would be niche, prevalent, or common over the next few years. Americans overwhelmingly believe it will remain a niche product.

The data across age groups and generations weren’t much different, with the under-25 and over-55 age cohorts showing a slight lean toward “prevalent” and “common,” but not enough to significantly move the needle.

Drilling down on the data, however, yielded some big differences across a pair of categories.

First up, opinions on drunk driving laws.

Counterintuitively, Americans who believe drunk driving laws are fine just the way they are more likely to have tried non-alcoholic beer than people who think drunk driving laws need to be stricter.

But perhaps the most interesting data point in the study came down to views on the future of exercise. In fact, after looking at the data – and German Olympians – it’s quite possible exercise and non-alcoholic beer might be the protein shake of the 2020s in America.

For starters, know this: German Olympic athletes do not routinely drink Gatorade or other traditional sports drinks during their training. They drink non-alcoholic beer, according to a New York Times article. And it’s not just Olympians; many Germans drink non-alcoholic beer instead of water or sports drinks post-workout. Many breweries market their non-alcoholic beer in such a manner.

So is there an untapped market here stateside? Might Americans be willing to swig some non-alcoholic beer after a few dozen leg presses?

It would appear so.

The study compared the future popularity of non-alcoholic beer with the future popularity of fitness tracking apps and the results were … well, they were quite German.

People who believe fitness tracking apps will be common in the next few years were much more likely, by a huge margin, to think non-alcoholic beer will be common as well.

And the logic followed all the way down the line, with Americans who thought fitness tracking apps will be niche also overwhelmingly believing non-alcoholic beer would remain niche over the next few years.

Overall, the trendline is going up for non-alcoholic beer, and the selections are growing by leaps and bounds as well. And while the United States population might currently view this beverage as a replacement for traditional beer, there are certainly some data – as well as trends in other countries – that indicate a whole new market might be awaiting breweries here in America. 

Stay tuned: later this week we’ll publish a new study on the opposite topic: binge-drinking.