Lithuania is witnessing a cultural shift in terms of alcohol consumption. Increasingly more of the country’s citizens opt for non-alcoholic beers, ciders or wines, as well as soft drinks. This development goes hand in hand with an ever-expanding range of non-alcoholic beverages becoming available in stores. Berta Čaikauskaitė, Head of Communications at retail chain IKI, says that the purchase of non-alcoholic alternatives is seeing a real spark: the supply of these products has increased by about five times over the past three years, a press release from the retail chain states.
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"Customers in Lithuania are increasingly choosing the drinks they buy based on taste, and no longer solely on alcohol content. This is especially true for beers and ciders, of which the sales of non-alcoholic varieties have increased significantly over the last year. Over the last half year sales of non-alcoholic beer and cider grew by 136% in comparison to the same period the previous year. The sales of non-alcoholic wines have increased by 86%", says B. Čaikauskaitė.

B. Čaikauskaitė believes that the growing demand for such drinks is a direct consequence of the expansion of the range of available products. People today can choose between different types of beer without alcohol – light, wheat, dark as well various beer cocktails. The most popular non-alcoholic wine is white wine. This is closely followed by reds, rosés and sparkling wines.

"People are explicitly opting for non-alcoholic beer, and this is partly due to healthier and more responsible lifestyles which are widely advocated. Aside from this, non-alcoholic beers and other beverages are also selected for more practical reasons. Non-alcoholic beverages do not prevent people from driving or working, whilst still giving them the opportunity to enjoy the taste of these beverages," says B. Čaikauskaitė.

Sales of all beverages increase significantly during the summer months. This is especially true on hot days and weekends. On days like these, not only the sales of non-alcoholic beers, beer cocktails or ciders go up, but the sales of various soft drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated water also peak. When buying drinks, consumers are increasingly focusing on the contents and nutrition.

"Consumers these days really read the labels on soft drinks. The fact that people are progressively concerned about their health and nutrition is also evidenced by the growing popularity of a variety of vitamins, minerals, magnesium and calcium-rich drinks. Flavored water, cold tea drinks and Lithuanian juices are also becoming more popular. Nowadays when a customer enters the store they will first look for soft drinks before moving onto milk and meat products", concludes B. Čaikauskaitė.

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