February 21, 2023

As Canadians increasingly look to drink less or not at all, non-alcoholic beverage companies are working hard to meet the rising demand and are sometimes struggling to keep up.

Interest has been brewing for the last couple of years, with an increase in sales during "Dry January" as the concept gains in popularity, says Bob Huitema, who launched the non-alcoholic spirits company Sobrii in 2019.

In just the past few years, he says, the industry has "exploded" with more companies producing non-alcoholic drinks.

"It has absolutely started to take off," he said.

Mitch Cobb, the co-founder and CEO of Libra Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer, launched a single non-alcoholic beer in October 2020 at Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown. Since then, increased demand has led to him expanding non-alcoholic offerings and recently spinning Libra off into a separate company.

Cobb also noted that it's becoming easier to sell to restaurants and grocers, which were once skeptical that customers would buy the drinks.

"As soon as we got the shelf space, sales would take off."

But that increased demand has led to some hiccups along the way.

On a few occasions, Cobb said, demand was a lot higher than what he expected, leading to short-term gaps where he couldn't fulfil all of the orders.

While he's learned from those experiences and become better at predicting demand, he said his company still had a hard time keeping up with demand in January.

Along with the increase in producers, there are also companies launching that import and distribute non-alcoholic drinks to retailers, restaurants and bars.

Read the full article here. 

Source: CTV News