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Lion expands non-alcoholic portfolio with the launch of Mac’s Brewhouse Soda

Lion has expanded its non-alcoholic portfolio, with the launch of the Mac’s Brewhouse Non-Alcoholic Soda range.

Lion expands non-alcoholic portfolio with the launch of Mac’s Brewhouse Soda

Lion has expanded its non-alcoholic portfolio, with the launch of the Mac’s Brewhouse Non-Alcoholic Soda range. The non-alcoholic brewed malt soda range comes in 330ml bottles, in four decidedly adult flavours (Ginger Root, Lemon & Barley, Lime & Coconut and Vanilla & Citrus). It will be available in supermarkets in four-packs, and in singles in service stations, convenience outlets, bars and restaurants.

Mac’s Brewhouse Non-Alcoholic Soda joins Lion’s Höpt range, as Lion expands its non-alcoholic offering in response to an increased consumer focus on wellbeing and trend to moderation.

“More and more, consumers are looking to moderate their alcohol intake, and they’re telling us they want a more grown-up option when they’re socialising,” says Lion’s Business Development Director Scott Wright.

While the primary driver for this change is the worldwide wellbeing “mega-trend”, drink driving laws, immigration resulting in increasingly diverse culture, and lower rates of alcohol consumption by millennials are all contributing factors. 

The success of Lion’s new non-alcoholic options isn’t just about alcohol avoidance either. Adult carbonated soft drinks like Mac’s Brewhouse Sodas and the Höpt range have half the sugar content of mainstream soft drink options, appealing to consumers who are increasingly looking to cut their sugar intake.

Mac’s Brewhouse starts life in the brewhouse – hence the name – where malt and barley are mixed to form a mash which is turned into a sweet “wort” (the liquid extracted from the brewed mash). The wort is diverted away from the fermenter, where it would be turned into alcohol, and is then filtered, stabilised and blended with juices and natural spices and flavours to create Mac’s Brewhouse Non-Alcoholic Soda.

“Our brewing expertise at Lion means that we’re uniquely placed to create a really distinctive beverage that is lower in sugar and more adult in flavour,” says Lion’s Innovation Leader Helen Costello. “The sweetness comes from the natural sweetness of malt, resulting in significantly reduced levels of added sugar.  Mac’s Brewhouse is the only product in New Zealand using this unique process, and we’re very proud of the end result.”

The value of the adult carbonated soft drink market estimated at $40 million, and has grown 5% in the last year alone, according to AC Neilsen[i].  Lion sees the more premium adult non-alcoholic market as such a significant opportunity that it has created a new business unit with non-alcoholic beverages as its sole focus.

“At Lion, we want to cater to adults at all social occasions, and in New Zealand in 2016 that’s no longer just about catching up with a mate in the pub over a pint”, says Wright.  “As opportunities for socialising diversify, we need to make sure we have the right drink for every occasion and the growing momentum of our Höpt range tells us that there’s more we can do in this space.”

New Zealanders’ alcohol and socialising habits are maturing. Kiwis still enjoy a drink, but increasingly are more discerning in their choices and are consuming less, but spending more, on more premium products. The growing popularity of craft beer is a testament to our increasingly sophisticated drinking habits.

Alcohol consumption has been in decline for the past forty years since peaking in the late 1970s, says Lion’s External Relations Director Sara Tucker.  “We know from our sales figures, our consumer insights and our on-premise operators that New Zealanders – and particularly young New Zealanders – are changing their approach to drinking.”

Höpt – a premium non-alcoholic soda packaged in beer-style bottles – was originally launched in 2014 as a trial in 120 bars and restaurants, targeting on-premise patrons wanting to fit in better with alcohol-drinking peers. Since then, sales have grown 100% year on year, and the range is now available primarily in supermarkets, in addition to the original on-premise environment.

In further proof of the category’s growing appeal, Lion is now distributing both Höpt and the new Mac’s Brewhouse Non-Alcoholic Soda ranges in over 400 BP and Z outlets, providing craft soda alternatives to consumers looking for more premium soft-drinks with a naturally lower sugar content.

Mac’s Brewhouse Non-Alcoholic Soda goes on sale nation-wide this week.


For further information:

Genevieve O’Halloran                                                                                               

External Relations Manager                                                                     

Lion (Beer, Spirits and Wine) New Zealand                                                                                      




0274 063 467                                                                                




[i] AC Nielsen Adult CSD June16 vs. YAGO