Marketing & Pricing of non-alcoholic beverages

Here is a v interesting Conversation article – what exactly is the tax on alcohol, vs each of these alcoholic beverages? The principle of price anchoring has really been used to rip us off apparently.
I also recommend the government link on pricing, embedded in this article.


Welcome to the community @TheYoya

I’ve been paying more attention to the zero or near zero alcohol options. They stand out in the supermarket aisle but not so prominently at the traditional bottle shop or liquor specialist.

Over decades of OS travel, I’ve marvelled at the difference in pricing in Europe and Asia, the always more expensive duty free at Airport option, but still a discount to Aussie retail. One needs to ask how the AF versions are priced. Some follow the same pathway as the high alcohol version, after which additional process are required to strip out the alcohol. Hence the saving will not be as great as we might expect. There are added costs for some but not all types of product.

Worth a read.

I found your comments about stripping alcohol interesting. What do you know about that process? Is it that complex?
Dry July may awaken interest in non-alcoholic (AF?) tipples.
The price anchoring material on the Australian government website takes us to a whole different area of shopping and negotiation.

The article you referenced in the OP linked a detailed explanation.

It responds by saying,

The two most common ways to produce no-alcohol beer and wine involve filtration and distillation. Both systems are technologically advanced and expensive, so they’re usually only used by larger producers.


It’s difficult to make low- and no-alcohol beer or wine that tastes exactly like the full-strength counterparts. That’s because ethanol contributes to the flavour profile of alcoholic drinks, and it’s more evident in wine (typically about 13% alcohol) than beer (about 5%).

The alternatives if cost is a concern?
There are many options of lower cost non alcoholic beverages including teas, coffee, soft drink, milk products, fermented health drinks or plain grape juice.

A taste and price test. Half price special at BWS $9.00

I can’t say the discounted price was extravagant.
For those wondering my palate is relatively undeveloped. The suggestions from tasting notes: delicate aromas of fresh lime, redcurrant and lemon shortbread. Delicious citrus flavours followed by distinct blackcurrant and passionfruit notes define this premium Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.

I get the passionfruit and a tang of something like the citric acid flavours of tangelo. The initial mouth feel was more sour than pleasing, which might be the fresh lime which had a pithy quality. Some may find the product a great choice, and others find it difficult to relate to the popular established alcohol laden version. For which one taster suggested - Ripe gooseberry notes with passionfruit tones and simply wonderful acidity to carry the palate through to its trademark crisp, clean finish.

Similar perhaps to how some of us prefer Chinotto and others a Fanta.

My mother was a big fan of lemon lime and bitters. For anyone bravely taking the dry July challenge, it’s a tasty mocktail. Honestly folks, alcohol is about as good for you as asbestos.

Unfortunately real bitters contains alcohol, so lemon, lime and bitters has a likelihood of containing some alcohol. Unfortunately a desire to be part of the

might be challenged.

Oh no!! That’s most unfortunate! Although only a few drops of bitters are needed, from memory. Personally, I stick to water, maybe fancied up with a slice of lemon or a mint leaf.

This months food challenge might have leaped to the support of those indulging or is it abstaining for “Dry July”. However there is scope here to raise a glass and offer up your favourite choice of low/zero alcohol tipple? Share whether it represents good value or is unreasonably priced sufficient to keep us on or near to topic. Citrus flavours feature in this months food challenge and for more than one of the following.

The following suggested top 10, 5 fails and suggested lemon squash standard marker should inspire some. For the current topic some thought provoking pricing given there are products produced without a need to remove the alcohol along the way. They should be bargain priced if the supermarket carton pricing of Solo is the benchmark for value.

I spent much of the past three years alcohol free, due to incompatibility with the drugs I had to take. I found the overpriced 0% gins are ok, but they’re not the same as the real thing. Only good for a fake G&T, and unsuitable for cocktails IMHO. Boutique tonic syrups (e.g. Sin Ko Nah, Tasmanian Tonics) use less sugar than the premixed tonic sodas. They’re a good option, albeit not cheap, but you can skip the 0% gin and barely notice. Now I can drink again, I still go for this option about 5 times out of six.

The pricing of non-alcoholic drinks is a gouge. They essentially charge as if the same tax applies, but call it margin. This is especially true of 0% gin. Many gins are made from commercial spirit (the alcohol part) mixed with the juniper berry and assorted herb and floral infused water. 0% simply leaves the spirit out.

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From an industry participant

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Marketing document, but some of what the article says would be true. Small producers have higher costs; it costs more to produce 0% wine, and probably beer. The gin argument is less convincing. They do have to amortise their research and development costs, and over a smaller base, presumably.

On another note, I can also recommend a Lyre’s Blanco Agave Spirit and Jose Cuevo Margarita mix cocktail.

The article of non-alcoholic beverages assumes they are de-alcoholised. Many aren’t but are produced by mixing ingredients and don’t go through a de-alcoholised process. Some non-alcoholised beers, one we used to consume, aren’t fermented in the traditional way and the taste of the beer is from how ingredients are processed and yeast added immediately before bottling process. It isn’t de-alcoholised.

The article appears to be an industry marketing exercise to justify higher retail costs. While it might apply to some who discard any alcohol through the manufacturing process, it wont apply to most especially those operations which are larger and produce commercial volumes of ethanol (sold as ethanol for other purposes). There are also many products which aren’t de-alcoholised.

Yes, de-alcoholised drinks cost more to manufacture than their traditional cousins, as they are subject to an additional process to remove tye alcohol. But 29% or more compared to say alcoholic wines if one assumes retail margins are the same and sold at similar price - don’t think do. There Is information online that commercial contracted providers charge about USD1/gallon (AUD0.40/L) to remove alcohol from wine. For the industry’s argument to stack up, wine would need to be sold at about $1/bottle - it doesn’t.

I believe the non-alcohol drink is using price to indicate an equivalent quality product - this is rife particularly in the wine industry where consumers believe price indicates quality or complexity. The higher the price for a bottle, the better the wine.