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Non-alcohol brew execs believe sales could jump to 16 million in 1990.

Non-alcohol brew execs believe sales could jump to 16 million cases in 1990

"Non-alcoholic beer sales in the United States will be close to 16 million cases in 1990," according to Jacques Bobbe, president, J.B & Associates, distributors of Texas Light non-alcoholic beer.

Bobbe, one of the pioneers of the resurgence of the category, noted that "five years ago sales were only 4.5 million cases, last year 10 million cases were sold, and five years from now non-alcoholic beer sales will be at least triple what they are today.

"However," Bobbe added, "this will happen only if brewers spend their money wisely and improve their products to the extent that the consumer will remain satisfied with the taste."

The Orlando, FL-based wholesaler bases his predictions to a great extent on the recent entry of the nation's two biggest brewers.

The introductions of Sharp's by Miller and O'Doul's by Anheuser-Busch," Bobbe said, "have immediately infused the category with multi-millions of dollars in advertising and promotion. This will cause a sales explosion for the entire segment."

Bobbe attributes the success non-alcohol beer in the U.S. to the strict drinking and driving laws in effect today and to the fact that Americans are more health-conscious than ever before.

Mark Cooper, president, Sibra Products, importer of Moussy, non-alcoholic beer, agreed that the entrance of the brewing giants could only help the segment.

"This advertising generated greater consumer interest in the segment in general, resulting in increased competition and greater sales," Cooper said. "If the trend continues, and I think it will, it should be a momentous year for non-alcoholic beers in the U.S."

Accordingly, supermarket sales of non-alcoholic beer rose 35 percent in January, compared to the same period in 1989, Nielsen reported.

The non-alcohol beer phenomenon, Bobbe added, is even more dramatic in Europe. "This is due to even stricter drinking and driving laws in most European countries," he said. "In Scandinavia, for instance, when drivers are caught with any kind of alcohol on their person, they not only lose their license but they receive an immediate jail sentence. And that applies throughout Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland.

"Growth of non-alcoholic beer in Europe," Bobbe continued, "has been over 35 percent a year for the last six years. That's why you find all the big European breweries in it today--Guinness, Lowenbrau and Heineken, plus large Swiss breweries and most of the French breweries."
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Title Annotation:Jacques Bobbe, Mark Cooper: beer distributor executives
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Apr 9, 1990
Words:403
Previous Article:A-B execs promoted; Stokes named brewery president.
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