Millennials are turning to non-alcoholic beer, but nutritionists stress it’s not a health drink

When Gabriella Prettelt first began bartending about eight years ago, the only patrons who ordered non-alcoholic beer were older adults.

“You wouldn’t catch anyone early 20s drinking it,” said Prettelt, whose bartending gig supplements her day job as a dietitian. “Now, I definitely see it way more in the younger crowd.”

The popularity of non-alcoholic beer has soared in recent years as more Americans – particularly millennials – have sought to reduce, or eliminate, their alcohol consumption. Non-alcoholic beer sales rose 39% in 2019 and another 38% in 2020, hitting $188 million, according to market researcher IRI.

And consumers are no longer limited to the likes of O’Doul’s. 

A nascent craft scene is headed by The Athletic Brewing Co., a Connecticut-based company founded in 2018 with the intention of producing great tasting, non-alcoholic beer. The company offers four beers, including two IPAs, and holds 46% of the U.S. market for non-alcoholic craft beers, according to the Boston Globe.

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