Welcome to the Low-Alcohol Beverage Dictionary!

Jun. 17, 2016

The heat of the summer calls for drinks that pack more refreshment, and one way to meet your customer’s thirst is through low-ABV drinks and cocktails.

Consumers are already tapping into the low-ABV beer market, which delivered a CAGR of 4.9% in 2015, versus 1.57% for the overall beer market. This niche market appears ready to bloom, with Euromonitor projecting global sales of non- and low-alcohol beers to increase 93% in just 10 years, from $3.36 billion in 2008 to $6.5 billion by 2018.

Health-conscious consumers will be interested to know that low-alcohol wines typically have fewer calories. A 5.5 percent ABV wine typically contains 33% to 50% fewer calories than 13 percent ABV wine. Meanwhile, mixologists in bars and kitchens around the country are reviving the lost art of the gentle apartief and pioneering low-proof session cocktails that focus on nuance and flavor.

Familiarize yourself with the key terms for the low-ABV trend and get ready to talk to your customers about all the great low-ABV flavors and brands they have to choose from. Click on the words below to see the definition.


Italian herbal liqueur that is commonly drunk as an after-dinner digestif.


A drink served before a meal.


The act of going out for a drink before a meal; a drink served before a meal.


Mixing high- and low-proof spirits in a session cocktail.

Full-proof spirit rinse

Coating the inside of a glass with liquor to add flavor to a low-ABV drink.


Beer with no more than 1.2% ABV. Wines with ABV of 5.5% to 11% are considered low ABV.

Low proof

Liquor with less than 20% ABV.


A cocktail made with low-ABV or non-alcoholic ingredients.


Beers with less than 5% ABV. Mixed drinks made with low proof liquors.


Beer mixed with a non-alcoholic drink, such as lemonade or juice.


A fortified wine made from white grapes with an ABV of 15% – 22%.


An apartief made with sparkling wine, bitter liqueur and mineral water.


A type of low-alcohol cocktail made with low-proof liquors.

Talk to your Breakthru sales consultant about stocking your shelf with low-ABV and low-proof gems, or to add some Sessions and Suppressors to your drink menu.

Rachel Arthur, “Non-alcoholic and low alcohol beers: Opportunities and Challenges” Beverage Daily [http://www.beveragedaily.com/Markets/Non-alcoholic-and-low-alcohol-beers-Opportunities-and-challenges]
Jillian Berman, “Can Non-alcoholic Beer Save Big Breweries?” Huffington Post [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/24/nonalcoholic-beer-growth_n_6735702.html]
Katrina Bishop, “Sobering thought: Low-alcohol wine set to bloom?” CNBC [http://www.cnbc.com/id/100968201]
Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau, new book "Spritz: Italy's Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes”
https://www.zagat.com/b/seattle/seattles-hottest-cocktail-trends-according-to-12-top-bartenders http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/reports-downloads/2016-reports/bev-al-media-report-q4-2015.pdf
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