Heineken will distribute special 31-can “Dry Pack” cases of its 0.0 brand alcohol-free beer to mark the coming of Dry January.
That’s the name for the trend to give up drinking for the month after the holidays, when, presumably, you’ve been overserved over and over again.
And one of the marketing glories of a non-alcohol offshoot of a famous beer is that there’s no legal problem giving the stuff away. That's the only way you’ll be able to pick up one of these odd cases of 0.0. People who want to try for a limited, free supply of Dry Packs can sign up online beginning Dec. 27 at 10 a.m.
The unusual packaging was designed by Minneapols-based agency Fast Horse, which has had fun with the particularly un-naugthy nature of 0.0, which can go where alcoholic beer marketing usually can’t.
For example during the U.S Open in New York in September, Fast Horse got retired tennis stars Andy Roddick and Lindsay Davenport to let fans at a New York City tennis court try to return their players’ professional-grade serves.
Those who could do it got free tickets to the Open (Heineken is a sponsor), but everybody got free samples of the product. With a conventional beer, says Fast Horse’s integrated creative director Eric Husband, that kind of beer giveaway wouldn’t be legal.
That also goes with 0.0’s hashtag slogan, #NowYouCan.
“We’re always trying to bring the beer into unexpected places where you wouldn’t ordinarily believe a beer would go,” Husband told Marketing Daily.
Earlier this year, it concocted “Bring Your Beer To Work Day” promoted with a commercial starring Angela Kinsey and Brian Baumgartner, stars from “The Office”, invading a real office and giving away bottles of 0.0. Another ad featured comedian and real-life doctor Ken Jeong distributing beers to first responders like firefighters and EMS crews.
The value of the global non-alcoholic beer market is anticipated to hit $25 billion by 2024, according to a Global Market Insights, from $13.5 billion in 2016, a 7.5% compound annual growth rate. The big market is the Middle East, but Germany and United Kingdom are not so far behind, and it’s on a fast build in the U.S. Altogether, non-alcoholic beer sales are growing far faster than “regular” beer.
“Dry January” got a giant push in 2013 from a group called Alcohol Change UK., and now the “sober-curious” there and in the U.S, have made not drinking far less shocking than it once was. Calorie-cutting and and the broader trend toward healthy diets also helped the trend.
An Esquire writer, observing the trend toward not drinking, wrote earlier this summer, “It wasn’t until last month, when I started seeing ads for Heineken 0.0 at my subway stop, that I knew sober culture was ascending to a new level of mainstream. The Heineken poster read: ‘Meet someone for a drink at the gym,’ and, ‘Make barre class feel like a bar.’"
Mostly, Heineken 0.0 marketing relies on social media, influencers, lots of earned media and word of mouth.
And, well, it also does feel the lure of sober curiosity: Husband says seven top Heineken executives will be Dry January initiates next month.