A new non-alcoholic beverage trend
There’s a refreshing new drink being poured in bars and homes across the land. It tastes a lot like beer, although it’s not actually beer. It contains zero alcohol as well as zero calories, carbs, sugar or gluten, making it a marketer’s dream.
This hop water beverage has a seltzer-like consistency and is infused with hops—the stuff that gives beer its distinctive taste. This makes it a fun and flavor-packed new drink option for consumers who are watching their weight, avoiding alcohol or gluten in their diet, or who just want to enjoy the bitter, beer-like flavor and fizz without the buzz.
Hop water sales are flying
According to NielsenIQ’s Off Premises data, over the past year, non-alcoholic hop water beverages have pulled in $5.5 million sales in the U.S., jumping from $2.3 million just two years before—up by a huge 142.5%.
Despite sales of craft beer dropping by 7.2% within the past year, hop water sales are up by 43.9%, and hop water is now the 5th biggest growing craft-style beverage in the U.S.
Is it just alcohol-free beer?
Along with hard seltzers and 100-calorie IPAs, these new hop water trends are part of a wider fashion for lighter and generally healthier alternatives to traditional beer and even non-alcoholic beer.
So, what’s the actual difference between hop water beverages and alcohol-free beer?
Non-alcoholic beer is a classically brewed beer with the alcohol removed, whereas hop water is made using a totally different process that doesn’t produce any alcohol. It is also made without grains, which is why the gluten-free claims can be made.
It’s simpler to make and less wasteful in terms of water and electricity usage, so as hop water trends become more well-known among consumers, brands could even consider using eco-friendly claims alongside health claims.