China Food

Interview with Leon, founder of new zero: if Yuanqi forest solves the problem of sugar, then new zero will solve the problem of alcohol




How hot is alcohol free beer in the world

Let’s take a look at some data about the global alcohol free beer market:
Globally, according to businesswire’s data, the global market share of alcohol free beer in 2021 is about 16 billion US dollars, and the market is expected to reach 23.27 billion US dollars in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 8.7%. According to the research report released by IWSR in June 2020, non-alcoholic beer is expected to increase by nearly 50% in the next five years.
From several regions of the world, according to the data of IWSR, in Europe, the alcohol free beer market in Germany is relatively mature, and the market share of alcohol free beer in the whole beer category has reached 11.8%, followed by 10.6% in Spain. We also observed from the official website of Tesco that the SKU of alcohol free beer has accounted for more than 10% of the beer category. [1]
In the United States, the sales of nonalcoholic alcohol accounted for only 1.9% of the total category of beer in the United States in 2020, but IWSR expects the sales of nonalcoholic beer in the United States to grow at a CAGR of 9.7% by 2024.
In the Middle East and Africa, due to religious and social reasons, alcoholic drinks are completely prohibited in some countries or regions, so these regions have not been the target market of alcohol companies in the past. The development of alcohol free beer also allows major beer companies to find a market entry point.
In Asia, Japan is an early country to develop the alcohol free beer market. According to statistics, the sales of alcohol free beer category of Kirin Beer accounts for about 10% of the beer category. In India, according to Mintel’s study, 38% of Indians want to switch from standard beer to low-alcohol or non-alcoholic versions. Heineken, Budweiser InBev’s alcohol free beer products have also entered the Indian market. In the Chinese market, almost all large domestic beer enterprises have arranged alcohol free beer categories, and the alcohol free beer group standard also began to be officially implemented in November 2021.
In the alcohol free beer area of European supermarkets
Photo source: day changing line
The above data also seems to support our hypothesis that alcohol free beer will one day become a drink like ordinary beer all over the world. Even if consumers don’t drink it, almost no one knows it. However, why did the category that was commercialized in the 1990s begin to explode in the market until now, and the liquor giants chose to start high-cost marketing for this category? We believe that there are some main factors:
Social factors:
  • General health trend: healthy diet has been a topic of concern for many consumers in recent ten years. Less sugar and less additives have become the product development trend of the food and beverage industry. Due to the influence of COVID-19 in 2020, people’s attention to healthy diet has increased again. Alcohol free beer has the selling point of low carbohydrate and low sugar, which has gradually become a substitute for beer for many consumers.
  • The concept of “rational drinking” has attracted global attention: due to a series of negative news caused by excessive drinking in society, the world began to advocate “rational drinking”, and the world health organization set a goal: reduce harmful drinking by 10% in the world by 2025, while alcohol free beer conforms to the concept of rational drinking.
  • Diversified development of drinks: in the past, the choice of drinks was relatively simple, and beer was also the just needed drink of many people. In the 1990s, the main audiences of alcohol free beer were drivers, pregnant women and so on. However, with the development of society, people began to pursue more beverage choices, and people began to have more beverage choices other than beer. With the weakening of the rigid demand attribute of beer, the beer industry needs a new category to drive consumption growth.
  • Transformation of social main consumer groups: in the past tens of thousands of years, the consumption scene of beer has been around the celebration, which is also an important “tool” of social scenes. In the 2020’s, the world’s major consumer groups have changed. With the growth of a new generation of consumer groups, soft drinks with diversified tastes. As this generation of consumers enter the society, their social style begins to change, the consumption scene of beer is gradually broadened, and the category of alcohol free beer is also beginning to be recognized by consumers.
Economic factors:
  • Society enters consumption upgrading: especially in the Chinese market, with the increase of per capita disposable income, consumption upgrading has driven significant changes in consumption structure and consumption mode. Consumers are more willing to pay for the added value of products, which also increases consumers’ new demand for consumer goods.
  • Consideration of alcohol tax: in many overseas countries, the tax system for alcohol is charged according to the alcohol content. For example, the beer tax in the UK depends on the amount of alcohol (abv). Moreover, the import tax on alcohol free beer varies from country to country. For example, in 2018, China reduced the import tax on alcohol free beer from 35% to 5%.
Technical factors:
  • Flavor upgrading of alcohol free beer: with the development of alcohol free beer brewing technology, beer brands also began to update and iterate the alcohol free beer process, which also made the taste of alcohol free beer closer to that of ordinary beer.

What is alcohol free beer?

On October 12, 2021, the group standard of alcohol free beer in China was officially released, which classifies alcohol free beer according to alcohol accuracy and beer type:
According to the classification of alcohol accuracy, alcohol free beer: beer with alcohol degree less than or equal to 0.5% Vol. 0.0% alcohol free beer: beer with alcohol content less than 0.05% Vol.
Classification by beer type: alcohol free beer: beer with alcohol degree less than or equal to 0.5% vol and fermented with yeast above. Alcohol free lager beer: beer with alcohol degree less than or equal to 0.5% vol and fermented with the following yeast. Beer without mellow flavor, such as beer without mellow fruit and vegetable juice, or special beer without mellow flavor, such as beer without mellow fruit and vegetable juice.

A brief global history of alcohol free beer

In fact, alcohol free beer does not belong to a very new beer category. According to data records, the history of alcohol free beer can be traced back to Medieval Europe. This kind of beer, known as “small beer”, is made for the daily drinking of the working class. As a safer substitute for frequently polluted water, the alcohol content in it can just eliminate bacteria. Beer is seen as a more nutritious alternative than water and is usually part of workers’ daily wages.
However, the real commercialization and vigorous promotion of alcohol free beer can be traced back to the large-scale national prohibition movement experienced by major countries in Europe and America in the 19th-20th century. In particular, in 1919, the US Congress approved the wolsted act, limiting the alcohol content of all beverages to 0.5%. In order to continue to operate during the prohibition, many breweries began to brew beer with very low alcohol content, which is the prototype of alcohol free beer we see on the market today.
The prohibition of alcohol in the United States officially ended in 1933, and only a small number of people chose to drink alcohol free beer; In Europe, alcohol free beer is also a beer substitute for a small number of people. In this way, alcohol free beer has always played a small role in the big category of beer. Even many people think that alcohol free beer is a very meaningless category. After all, many people enjoy the pleasure brought by alcohol when drinking beer.
Until the late 1980s, yuppie culture rose in Europe and America, and the harm of drunk driving began to be paid attention to. One day, a British TV station broadcast an advertisement: actor Billy Connolly told people while drinking beer that after drinking this beer, you don’t have to worry about talking big tongue, playing football after drinking, and even driving. In short, “no alcohol, no limit”.
TV advertisement of kaliber under Guinness
Image source: YouTube
This is kaliber, a non alcohol lager beer brand launched by Guinness in the 1980s. Since the 1990s, Guinness has made great efforts in the advertising and marketing of this brand, and has successively found many popular stars to advertise. In 1990, shortly after Guinness launched kaliber, AB InBev launched an alcohol free beer brand “o’dul’s” in the U.S. market, focusing on beer flavor and low calorie. So far, the category of alcohol free beer began to enter the brand, but not many people bought it at that time, mainly because the taste and flavor of alcohol free beer are generally inferior to ordinary beer. Alcohol free beer usually has the wheat flavor of traditional beer, but lacks the fruit flavor or ester flavor of traditional beer. However, big breweries seem to recognize this trend and never give up the product line of alcohol free beer.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the Asian market also felt the upsurge of alcohol free beer products from European and American markets. According to the report of China business times, Yanjing Beer invested 20.31 million yuan in 2002 to launch “Yanjing alcohol free beer”. Kirin, a Japanese beer brand, began to develop non-alcoholic malt drinks in 2007. At that time, Japan shook the society due to a series of serious traffic accidents caused by drunk driving. In response, the government has formulated stricter penalties for drunk driving and punished enterprises that provide alcoholic drinks to drivers. The incident also led beer companies to launch alcohol-free products. In 2009, Kirin launched its first alcohol free beer product “Kirin free”. Subsequently, the domestic beer brand Qingdao launched its first alcohol free beer “Qingdao 0.00” in 2012. In the same year, South Korea’s Haite beer also launched “Hite zero 0.00”. Just like in the European and American markets in the 1990s, these alcohol free beer products have not caused waves in the Asian market.
Until 2017, Heineken launched alcohol free beer “Heineken 0.0” in the European market, and extended to the American market in 2019, with a budget of US $50 million for the marketing of the product. In 2020, Heineken became a partner of the European Cup. Some fine brewing beer brands, such as BrewDog in the UK, also launched alcohol free beer products, and opened the first fine brewing alcohol free beer bar (BrewDog AF) in the UK in 2020. It may be that the category of alcohol free beer has accumulated over time, or it may be that people have to start drinking less alcohol due to the trend of healthy diet. In short, more people choose to accept this category. In this way, alcohol free beer has become a well-known product in the European and American markets and a popular entrepreneurial track.
BrewDog alcohol free beer bar
Source: BrewDog official website
Today, people will consume alcohol free beer because of drunk driving, health and other reasons, but few people will choose alcohol free beer because of flavor. Even the alcohol free beer mainly brewed has a more hierarchical taste, but it is still difficult to meet the standards of beer drinkers. The main reason is the dealcoholization process of alcohol free beer, because alcohol is taken out of beer, It means sacrificing flavor.

Production technology of alcohol free beer

One may wonder why alcohol free beer is included in the beer category rather than beverages? There are two points that can explain this problem. First, almost all countries’ alcohol free beer will be manufactured according to local beer standards; Secondly, the process and raw materials required for the production of alcohol free beer are the same as those for the production of beer. It is fermented from four main raw materials (water, yeast, malt and hops), and goes through almost the same process as the production of ordinary beer: crushing malt, sugar, boiling, cooling, fermentation, ripening, bottling, etc., but the step of “dealcoholization” needs to be added. At present, the known dealcoholization methods can be divided into two types: 1. Limit the formation of ethanol in the process of brewing beer, that is, make the alcohol not fully fermented in the fermentation step; 2. The alcohol in beer is removed, and specific equipment is used to separate the alcohol after beer brewing. [2]
Ordinary beer production process
Source: Chuancai Securities Research Institute
Method 1: limit the formation of ethanol
In the brewing process of ordinary beer, yeast will convert sugar into alcohol, while the method of manufacturing alcohol free beer by limiting the formation of ethanol (alcohol) usually moves hands and feet in the fermentation process. Most methods do not need to install additional equipment to extract alcohol in the production process. There are generally four methods to limit ethanol formation: interruption of fermentation, contact with cold yeast, use of special yeast, use of immobilized yeast or bioreactor.
1. Interrupted fermentation: this method uses the same equipment as traditional beer fermentation. It can be realized by using yeast for partial fermentation of wort, removing yeast and stopping the fermentation process. The disadvantage of this method is that due to the lack of time, it can not promote the full conversion of wort into beer, which also leads to the final product more like wort, so more spices are needed to supplement the flavor defects.
2. Cold yeast contact: this method uses the same equipment as traditional beer fermentation, except that all fermentation is carried out at low temperature. An important feature of this method is that yeast can reduce carbonyl compounds in wort to produce aromatic compounds, but these yeasts can convert amino acids into aldehydes, which may form some relatively strange flavors. Generally speaking, the characteristics of cold fermented nonalcoholic beer are more similar to ordinary beer.
3. Use of special yeasts: different yeasts also affect the flavor of beer fermentation. At present, there are some types of yeasts on the market that are more suitable for the brewing of alcohol free beer. For example, some yeasts will produce low alcohol beer from wort because they can not effectively degrade most of the sugar in maltose.
4. Using immobilized yeast or bioreactor: the cost barrier of this method is relatively high. The process includes using yeast attached to carrier material and placing it in the reactor where wort flows. When using bioreactor, it will form beer specific aromatic compounds with high yield, but the process is difficult to control, the equipment cost is high, and there is a risk of microbial pollution. It is necessary to filter, stabilize and pasteurize the produced beer more carefully.
Generally speaking, in the biological process of making non-alcoholic beer, as long as the wort is not fully fermented, the final product usually has sweeter sensory characteristics, enhanced wort flavor and color.
Method 2: remove ethanol
Different from the methods that limit the formation of ethanol, the ethanol removal process involves the additional cost of production plants with specific equipment, and most methods will remove most aromatic compounds while removing ethanol from beer, affecting its final flavor. The methods of removing ethanol can be divided into three categories: heat treatment, extraction and membrane separation process.
1. Heat treatment: this method requires heating the beer and evaporating the alcohol. The thermal process of beer dealcoholization usually changes the final product in the sense, resulting in the loss of aroma, wine body, carbonation and flavor, as well as the change of aroma characteristics. At present, the thermal processes used include vacuum evaporation, vacuum distillation and centrifugal distillation.
2. Extraction: this method requires the separation of ethanol by solvent extraction. The solvent extraction of alcohol free beer includes the extraction of ethanol with liquid carbon dioxide using a solvent with high solubility and immiscible with water.
3. Membrane separation process: the membrane separation process can operate at a mild temperature with low energy consumption. It hardly needs chemical additives, but it needs professional equipment to complete it. Membrane separation process includes nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, osmotic distillation, dialysis and total evaporation.

Can alcohol free beer occupy a place in the Chinese market?

As mentioned above, Yanjing Beer has developed the first alcohol free beer product as early as 2002, but it has not been widely distributed to the national market. Until 2009, the new national standard of beer was officially implemented, and alcohol free beer became a new category on the list, which means that it has been officially recognized. Around 2009, China also began to severely punish drunk driving and formulate new regulations. These two opportunities made the domestic beer market once set off a short-term upsurge of alcohol free beer. Yanjing beer also pushed the boat with the tide and began to promote its alcohol free beer products. At that time, some media reported that the weekly increase of alcohol free beer of Yanjing beer was 10%. In 2012, Qingdao also launched Qingdao 0.00 alcohol free beer. But in China, alcohol free beer has not become a heated discussion category. When we asked beer lovers about their attitude towards alcohol free beer, the answers were generally negative. Their main impression of alcohol free beer was that it was more light in flavor than the cheapest beer.
With the rise of the concept of “rational drinking” and the rise of health ism, the import volume of alcohol free beer began to increase significantly since 2017. According to the statistics of industrial information network, from 2017 to 2020, the import volume of alcohol free beer increased from 584.4 kiloliters in 2017 to 2475.7 kiloliters in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 62%; The import value increased from 715000 US dollars in 2017 to 1087000 US dollars in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate of 56%; In the first half of 2021, the import volume of alcohol free beer was 881.1 kiloliters, with an amount of US $1.087 million.
This trend has also led domestic beer companies to launch alcohol free beer products one after another. Qingdao and Yanjing have also upgraded their alcohol free beer products. In the field of entrepreneurship, there has also been a new brand of dark horse, which focuses on alcohol free refined beer.
Alcohol free white beer launched by Yanjing in 2021
Photo source: Yanjing flagship store
Here, we have some questions about the domestic alcohol free beer industry. Why is the expected growth data of alcohol free beer so optimistic, but beer companies like Heineken and Budweiser InBev still haven’t entered the domestic market? Why is there no consumption scene of alcohol free beer such as driving in China? What kind of magnitude will the domestic alcohol free beer market have in the future? In China, is alcohol free beer a good entrepreneurial track
To this end, we have found a new zero of domestic alcohol free beer innovation brand. Xinzero was founded in 2020. The brand focuses on alcohol free refined brewing products. At present, three alcohol free refined brewing products and alcohol free fruit flavor beer products have been launched. In September 2021, the company completed the angel round financing of tens of millions of Yuan led by Hillhouse venture capital and followed by canglan capital. One month after the product was launched on tmall, it surpassed Qingdao, Yanjing and Kirin alcohol free beer and became the first brand in tmall alcohol free beer sales by category; Box horse fresh top 5 sells fine brewed beer. With doubts and curiosity about the industry and brand, we had an in-depth conversation with CEO Leon of xinzero.
New zero alcohol free beer products
Source: new zero flagship store
The following is the interview content:
Foodplus: when did you come into contact with alcohol free beer? We know that you have a strong background and experience in the supply chain and have worked in well-known enterprises such as IHG, Nike, Amazon and Tesco. For this industry that seems unrelated to your work experience, when did you get the idea of starting a business in alcohol free beer?
Leon: actually, I always have a “entrepreneurial heart”. When I was a graduate student in the UK, I did my first entrepreneurship project in 2004. At that time, I made an e-commerce website with my classmates. We imported products from Yiwu Commodity City and sold them on the website. In one year, we sold about £ 2 million.
In 2018, I started a new entrepreneurial project. The opportunity at that time was that during my employment at IHG, I made a digital platform called IHG mall to integrate the supply chain related resources of the hotel industry into one platform. At that time, I also won the award of CIPS (Royal Institute of purchasing and supply). Later, we found that this supply chain platform can empower more small and medium-sized hotels and B & B, so we made a “pinduoduo” of the hotel supply chain to integrate the procurement needs of small and medium-sized hotels and B & B.
However, with the arrival of the epidemic, we also ended the project. Because I have been doing some research on refined beer. Later, when we looked for the entrepreneurial direction again, we chose the alcohol free refined beer track.
Foodplus: why alcohol free beer track?
Leon: first of all, the proportion of alcohol free beer in the Chinese market is very small. At present, the domestic brands of alcohol free beer are large domestic liquor enterprises, while overseas brands are mainly imported by dealers. But this track has great potential.
Take several overseas markets as examples. According to our understanding, Japanese alcohol free beer accounts for about 13% of alcohol free beer; Budweiser’s CEO once said publicly that at present, alcohol-free and ultra-low alcohol beer accounts for 8% of Budweiser’s North American beer sales, and hopes that alcohol-free beer will account for 20% of Budweiser’s total sales in 2025. You know, Budweiser is the largest beer producer in the world, accounting for 30% of the total beer market share in the world; Another giant Heineken’s alcohol free beer accounts for 11% of its sales in Europe. It is reported that they will give half of their marketing expenses to alcohol free beer in 2022; Carlsberg group will accelerate the development of alcohol free beer as one of the core strategies of portfolio selection in the Yangfan 27 strategy released on February 3. In the whole European market, alcohol free beer accounts for more than 10% of the sales of beer, and 15% of the sales of Tesco beer in the UK comes from alcohol free beer.
Therefore, we believe that this is a track with a high ceiling. Only a large category can achieve a 10 billion level enterprise; Second, this is a high-frequency just needed category; Third, this track is in line with our ability circle. Our team has a strong retail background and has worked in consumer goods, e-commerce and brands.
Foodplus: How did you get started with alcohol free beer?
Leon: I am a person who loves studying. In the past, I studied fine brewing for many years when I was a lover of fine brewing beer. Later, I decided to start a business and began systematic self-study. At first, I bought about 3000 pieces of beer brewing books, and then I began to visit all over the country to consult and discuss with experts.
Foodplus: compared with other alcohol free beers, what is special about the new zero production process?
Leon: we call the mainstream alcohol free beer manufacturing method on the market as “1.0 process”. This process mainly relies on mechanical dealcoholization, that is, a dealcoholization instrument is used to complete dealcoholization in the way of mechanical and physical dealcoholization. This process has two working principles. The first principle is membrane filtration. A semi permeable membrane is used to filter out wine and water, and the remaining solids and impurities will settle down, and then backfill water. Products manufactured by this method usually add flavors. The second process is low-temperature distillation, that is to evaporate the ethanol by low-pressure heating, leaving water and solid matter, and then backfill water. This 1 process has three disadvantages: 1, poor taste, and needs flavour to taste. 2. It is impossible to be completely alcohol-free; 3. Capacity and production stability will be limited.
Our team has developed a “clear brewing method” which can completely avoid the three disadvantages of “1.0 process”. The specific process is very complex. In order to solve and avoid all disadvantages, we need to control every detail such as raw materials and process. I take tomato scrambled eggs as an example: if you want to make a delicious plate of tomato scrambled eggs, you need formula and technology. There are many differences in just one formula. What kind of tomatoes and eggs do you need? Would you like salt and sugar? After the formula is finished, what kind of process is it? Scrambled eggs or tomatoes first? Hot pot or cold pot? For a plate of scrambled eggs with tomatoes, every detail will affect the final taste. Our process is the same. We should know that the brewing of each batch of beer R & D test takes at least 14 days. It took us a total of 8 months to polish repeatedly before we finally made the final product.
Foodplus: can you introduce the new zero supply chain?
Leon: our supply chain is completely different from other low alcohol wines. Many companies use OEM for OEM. Our cooperative factory is a processing factory. Minor purchase of raw materials, process and formula are independent intellectual property rights.
Foodplus: what are the special requirements of new zero in terms of raw materials?
Leon: our raw materials are mainly imported, including malt, hops and yeast. By the way, we have recently updated the formula and adopted some domestic hops originated in Xinjiang. Because we are a domestic brand, we will also let more consumers taste the alcohol free beer brewed with domestic hops. When our formula is upgraded, it will taste better than before.
Foodplus: since the formula, process and raw material transformation of the new zero are all done by ourselves, is it considered to build a self built supply chain?
Leon: for a start-up brand, there is no need to press too much money to build a factory for the time being. After all, a set of equipment is tens of millions, not including other costs. Our company is a food technology company, which pays more attention to R & D and product itself.
Foodplus: what channels are currently being laid out? What’s the percentage?
Leon: there are both online and offline layouts, mainly tmall and In, we have an omni-channel layout, including’s self-supporting, 7 fresh and wine world. At present, there are many offline channels, including HEMA, RT mart, Carrefour, convenience stores, etc. there are also some regional head channels, such as Bubugao in Hunan and Hongqi chain in Chengdu. Basically, we have the layout of online and offline mainstream channels. At present, the proportion is not much worse.
Foodplus: are there any offline channels other than retail?
Leon: Yes, we basically divide the channels according to time. We believe that as a consumer product, the faster you drink, the faster you buy. For example, if you drink it within one hour, it is the on-the-spot / ready to drink channel. If you drink it within two hours, it is the mom and pop store channel. If you drink it within one week, it is the Ka channel. If you drink it within one month, it is the E-commerce channel.
Foodplus: new zero first launched three alcohol free fine wines, Pearson, turbid IPA and Belgian White beer. Why did you choose these three flavors? What is the product development idea of the brand after that?
Leon: it’s not so much that we choose the taste of the product, but that consumers choose the taste. Why do we say so? When we first developed products, we decided not to make lager beer, which is more popular in the market, or mainly craft beer. In the process of product testing, we dispatched all teams, two people as a group, one responsible for communicating with customers and one responsible for recording, and set up stalls all over Shanghai, which touched on various consumer groups to see what kind of consumption results will be. We found that young women may prefer Pearson, more young people like Belgian White beer, and people who often drink refined beer like IPA. Our final product is the result of consumers voting with money. As for the new products, we have already prepared them, but they haven’t been introduced to the market yet. It depends on the specific timing.
Foodplus: the positioning of the new zero is probably in the middle of similar products, about 10 yuan. How to consider such a pricing strategy?
Leon: in fact, the pricing is also what consumers tell us. In beer, 10 yuan is a dividing point. More than 10 yuan is high-end and ultra-high-end beer, and less than 10 yuan is medium-end and low-end beer.
Foodplus: the new zero alcohol free brewed beer has added resistant dextrin. The main beer contains dietary fiber. What are the considerations?
Leon: because our idea is happy & healthy. Of course, happy is good to drink. We are alcohol-free, low calorie and add dietary fiber. Naturally, it is healthy.
Foodplus: the new zero pays attention to heat control in products, focusing on the heat of a bottle less than an apple. What is the main way to control the heat of beer and alcohol fermentation?
Leon: Yes, calories do have a lot to do with alcohol and some sugar, so our process is to remove alcohol and sugar. This will also affect the taste, so we need to find a balance in the manufacturing process.
Foodplus: at this stage, are there any technical difficulties to be overcome for the new zero alcohol free beer?
Leon: our biggest technical difficulty at this stage is to make our products drink better than all beer on the market.
Foodplus: in other words, can I drive after drinking alcohol free beer? Alcohol free beer is the main driving scene in many foreign countries, which is also related to foreign living habits. Alcohol free beer in Japan will be recommended to pregnant women and people with alcohol allergy.
Leon: we have done many tests on this. One test method is also very interesting. Each of our team partners randomly takes a can of new spare products, calls an online car hailing, and asks the driver to take it to a place where he may check drinking and driving recently. When he arrives at the scene, he drinks a bottle, and asks the police uncle to blow it for two weeks, The tester never rings once. So you can actually drive after drinking our alcohol free beer. But we can’t publicize it, because the domestic advertising law is almost the strictest in the world. We belong to the category of beer according to the national standard gb4927, and we can only publicize it according to the rules of beer.
Foodplus: in this case, how can consumers with demand safely drink new zero products?
Leon: this may require more market education and more popular science for everyone. In fact, there are some overseas examples. For example, not all places in western countries can publicize that you can drive after drinking alcohol free beer. More importantly, alcohol free beer is associated with driving. These are more a kind of mental occupation, and this is the most real. In fact, some consumer communication we do now has begun to enter the mental end of consumers. We found that the search data of new zero tmall and are new zero beer and new zero alcohol free beer. This “zero” has produced an effect as our visual hammer. However, the background search of some big brands is more alcohol free beer, and it is difficult for old brands to occupy the minds of consumers of new categories.
Foodplus: what will the new zero do about the scene Association just mentioned? What are the target consumers and consumption scenarios of the new zero alcohol free beer?
Leon: in fact, we have made a lot of exploration and attempts from online to offline, from design to display, including our visual hammer. This huge zero character will quickly attract the attention of consumers. We often say “retail is detail”. Every detail of offline retail will associate the brand with the consumption scenario. I also found an interesting phenomenon online. At first, our seed users began to share our products on some social platforms through slow development. Below, someone will leave a message saying “beer without alcohol has no soul”, “drinking beer without alcohol is lonely”, etc, But there will be another group of messages saying “I think it makes sense, because I’m breastfeeding, preparing for pregnancy, vaccinated, I took cephalosporin” and other reasons. Everyone can find the moment when they need this product in their life. Many times, users often find the consumption scenario of alcohol free beer by themselves.
Foodplus: what is the current organizational structure of the company?
Leon: we now have three partners: Fang Zhiyuan, the chief brewer, is a national beer evaluation committee. He should be the youngest of the 80 national evaluation committee members. He is responsible for R & D and production; Ding Maimai is my old colleague for many years. She is in charge of supply chain and channel, and I am the product manager. At present, the team has about 20 people, and R & D and production account for 1 / 3.
Foodplus: does the current new zero revenue status meet your initial expectations?
Leon: actually, we have reached the first small goal set by the team at first. When the products were not on the market at the beginning of the 20th century, our team set the first small goal of “annual sales exceeding all imported alcohol free beer of foreign brands”, which has exceeded all imported alcohol free beer of overseas brands in 2020 in about seven months.
Foodplus: China is a big beer consumer, but at present, many large beer enterprises do not choose to develop alcohol free beer in the Chinese market, but take the lead in choosing Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore and India. What do you think is the consideration?
Leon: maybe for those big brands, the domestic market is too small, because their supply chain can’t support such a small market. This is a decision-making problem.
Foodplus: almost all beer giants around the world have successively launched alcohol free beer products. Alcohol free beer has developed to a certain scale in overseas markets, especially in Europe, but domestic alcohol free beer is still in its infancy. For example, large domestic beer enterprises, Qingdao, Yanjing and Carlsberg’s Chongqing beer have launched alcohol free beer, What do you think of the competitive advantage of new zero in the industry?
Leon: first of all, for us, cost is not the first factor. What is more important is whether it can bring customers a better experience and meet their needs. Is it a future product. Now for consumers, it is not because the price is cheap to buy a product. Why overseas launched this product earlier than us is mainly a matter of supply and demand. First, many overseas countries have heavy taxes on high alcohol concentration. Second, people’s needs are different. The per capita disposable income in many foreign countries is much higher than that in China.
From the perspective of the beer market, the sales volume of the whole beer has been declining since 2013, but the sales volume is rising. A big factor is that consumers drink less but better, and consumers are willing to pay a premium for better products. Therefore, this is an opportunity for innovative companies. Our advantage in price is naturally not as good as that of large companies, but consumers recognize the value of our products and additional functional value, which is a basis for us to challenge giants.
Foodplus: what do you think of the prospect of domestic alcohol free beer market? What market share will alcohol free beer occupy in the domestic beer market?
Leon: I believe this market will become very large. As we just said, Budweiser alcohol free beer accounts for 8% in the United States, Heineken 0.0 in Europe 11%, alcohol free beer 15% in the UK and 13% in Japan. In China, if beer now has a market of 500 billion, alcohol free beer will account for 10% in the future, that is 50 billion. China’s development must be faster than that of foreign countries. I think it can reach about 5% in three to five years, which is also a market share of about 25 billion. We first saw this trend in the market and wanted to create some value for consumers.
Foodplus: if the domestic alcohol free beer market grows further, I believe many beer giants will start to increase the alcohol free beer in the domestic market. At the same time, some new entrepreneurial brands will enter this market. How will you face such competition?
Leon: in fact, this is not a bad thing for us, because the alcohol free beer market has become larger and more products, which can also deepen the impression of new zero in the minds of consumers.
Foodplus: what kind of enterprise do you want to make new zero in the future?
Leon: there are only a few legal addictive substances in human beings. Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, sugar and capsaicin. The first four work by stimulating the brain to produce dopamine. In addition to caffeine, the other three have been recognized as unhealthy substances. At present, the solution of nicotine is electronic cigarette, and the solution of sugar is sugar substitute, but alcohol has not been solved yet. If Yuanqi forest solves the problem of sugar, the new zero will solve the problem of alcohol, which is our goal in the future.


There is no doubt that alcohol free beer is growing rapidly in the world. If we target the overseas market, the domestic alcohol free beer market has great potential to become a track of tens of billions. The new zero example also tells us that more and more consumers in the domestic market begin to know about alcohol free beer products and are willing to take the initiative to consume them. The flavor of alcohol free beer can also be continuously improved through continuous research and development to restore the flavor of ordinary beer.
This is a very promising entrepreneurial track. In the domestic market, large companies have not started to make efforts in the category of alcohol free beer. For start-up companies, it is an important barrier to compete with large enterprises to develop products with their own characteristics and flavor, and begin to explore and obtain consumers’ minds in the early stage of market development.
[1] IWSR (2021), No and Low-Alcohol Products Gain Share Within Total Beverage Alcohol
[2]STEADY DRINKER(2018), “Kaliber” review – alcohol-free (0.05%) pale lager
[3]MULLER,NEVES,GOMES,GUIMARÃES,GHESTI(2020),Processes for alcohol-free beer production: a review
[4]Time (2018),Why Beer Is the World’s Most Beloved Drink
Author: Tao Zi; Editor: Tracy; Source: foodplushub (ID: foodplushub), reprint has been authorized. Reprint authorization and media business cooperation: Amy (wechat: 13701559246); Foodaily fbic & Expo 2022] foodaily daily food joined hands with the world’s top business and industrial partners to build fbic222 global food and beverage Innovation Conference & the first foodaily Expo “new food era – brand ecology” in Shanghai from May 31 to June 2, 2022. We invite you to witness it together. (click the picture to see the detailed introduction). related reading

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