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WSTA publishes labelling guidance for no and low-alcohol drinks

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has produced new guidance around the labelling of low and no-alcohol drinks as a record number of Brits explore the category.

It aims to establish acceptable naming conventions, marketing text and general labelling for alcohol-free and low-alcohol drinks, which are becoming ever more numerous and ever more closely resemble their alcoholic counterparts in aroma, taste and appearance. 

Recent market data from the WSTA shows that overall alcohol sales are down compared to the same 12-month period last year; wine and beer have suffered noticeable dips while spirits sales are flat. 

Meanwhile, the popularity of no and low-alcohol beverages is at an all-time high, with increasing innovation from drinks producers putting exciting alternatives on the market as more people look to reduce their alcohol consumption.

As well as providing clarity and consistency for retailers and producers, the new guidance is designed to boost consumer confidence in the category and help people make more informed purchasing choices of no and low-alcohol drinks.

The guidance was produced in partnership with the WSTA's Primary Authority Trading Standards partners, following requests from both retailers and producers. It applies to low and no-alcohol drinks that are packaged and marketed as a substitute or alternative to spirit drinks and is designed to complement existing, and future, Low Alcohol Descriptors Guidance produced by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Miles Beale, WSTA CEO, said: "There has been a huge amount of innovation and product development across the low and no-alcohol category in recent years. Confusion - for producers and consumers - led to a request of the WSTA to pull together comprehensive advice. Along with our Primary Authority partners, we have produced this new guide to help both producers and consumers.

"We know that overall alcohol sales fell during 2020. Many Brits want to start 2021 by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink, or cutting it out completely, which is why I am delighted to have been able to publish this guidance so early in the year. 

"Many of our members are making it easier than ever for us to choose a lower-alcohol or no-alcohol alternative, without compromising on taste or quality. Our new guidance will help producers label and market their products with greater confidence and will help promote clear, accurate and consistent labelling across the category, boosting consumer confidence."

16 January 2021 - Bethany Whymark