Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

Alcohol-free beer on draught ‘could improve public health’

Making alcohol-free beer more widely available on draught in pubs and bars could nudge people towards making healthier choices, new research has suggested.

For various reasons, perhaps due to fear of being judged by friends and peers, or just a lack of alcohol-free options being advertised, many might not go down the low or no-alcohol route.

However, a new study from the University of Bristol has found that making the drinks more visible and easier to purchase in bars led to an increase in sales of non-alcoholic beer.

As part of the study, researchers from the university’s Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, working with Bristol City Council, recruited 14 pubs and bars in Bristol, none of which had previously offered alcohol-free beer on draught.

The venues then completed two intervention periods and two “control” periods randomly over eight weeks – the first involved replacing one draught alcoholic beer with an alcohol-free alternative, and the second was business as usual.

Non alcohoic beers in The Virgin Mary bar, the first alcohol-free bar to open in Dublin, Ireland.
Image: Non-alcoholic beers at a bar in Dublin, Ireland. Pic: PA

Results found that when an alcohol-free option was available, pubs and bars sold, on average, 29 fewer litres of alcoholic beer per week – the equivalent to 51 fewer pints and a 5% reduction in sales.

However, this was replaced by an equivalent increase in sales of alcohol-free beer, suggesting customers were choosing the healthier option.

Crucially, the study found there was no impact on profit meaning the change did not leave pubs and bars worse off.

Alcohol can lead to weight gain and addiction and has been linked to seven types of cancer, including mouth, upper throat, larynx, oesophagus, breast and bowel cancer.

The NHS says that persistent alcohol misuse increases the risk of serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke and liver disease.

Read more:
Younger people turning down booze
Can I drink alcohol-free beer at work?

Dr Angela Attwood, associate professor in the Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group, said that although alcohol-free options have been available for a while, they do not have the same “visual prominence” and are rarely served on draught.

“Our study showed that providing front-of-bar draught non-alcoholic options could lead to some customers switching from alcoholic drinks,” she said.

“This does not restrict consumer choice; in fact, it increases the options available to the customer, and at the same time could reduce population levels of alcohol consumption and improve public health.”

Ivo Vlaev, professor of behavioural science at Warwick Business School, said by “altering the choice architecture in bars and pubs – the research leverages basic human biases towards easier, more prominent options”.

It comes as researchers from the University of York said there is not yet enough data on consumer behaviour around no- and low-alcohol drinks to state they are a healthy alternative to alcohol.

Matt Lambert, health information and promotion manager at the World Cancer Research Fund, added: “Just like with alcoholic drinks, the sugar and calories in alcohol-free options can vary.

“That’s why it’s best for your health if you opt for smaller sizes – so, rather than a pint, choose a bottle or have a half-pint.”

Sky News Source