Scottish craft brewer rolls out ‘smart drinking’ beer cans in UK first

A Glasgow company has claimed a UK first with the rollout of its new packaging to support “smart drinking” as it aims to capitalise on a growing trend for low alcohol drinks.

Gen!us is a 3 per cent craft lager with one unit of alcohol per can. Picture: Contributed
Gen!us is a 3 per cent craft lager with one unit of alcohol per can. Picture: Contributed

Genius Brewing, a fundraising partner of Scottish rugby legend Doddie Weir’s motor neurone disease foundation, will help drinkers stay fully informed of what they are drinking thanks to new cans for its light craft lager Gen!us.

Set to hit the shelves this month, the cans will feature full, food-standard nutritional facts and Vegan Society accreditation, in a move understood to be a UK first.

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Co-founder Charlie Craig said it is “shocking” that drinks producers are not legally required to include calorie information on alcoholic drinks.

New Gen!us cans will also carry the My Name5 Doddie foundation logo, with 5p from the sale of every can donated to help tackle motor neurone disease. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Gen!us is a 3 per cent craft lager which contains one unit of alcohol per can. Popularity of no and low alcohol beers has increased in recent years, with market research group Kantar finding sales rose 49.4 per cent in the year to July amid growing consumer demand for healthier options.

'Without the booze and belly'

Co-founder and creative director Jason Clarke said: “The craft beer revolution has raised people’s expectations of quality however they tend to have high ABVs [alcohol by volume] and a heap of calories. Today’s drinkers still want a great beer but without all the booze and the belly.”

Craig, who is also operations director, added: “It’s shocking that there’s no legal requirement in the UK to put calorie information on alcohol.

“Gen!us is all about transparency and ‘smart drinking’ so providing a full nutritional breakdown allows drinkers to make an informed, smart choice.”

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New Gen!us cans will also carry the My Name’5 Doddie foundation logo, with 5p from the sale of every can donated to help tackle motor neurone disease.

Genius Brewing was launched in 2018 with a mission to “make responsible drinking a pleasure”.

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Scottish firms targeting low alcohol market

This comes as a number of Scottish brewers and distillers are attempting to corner the reduced alcohol and alcohol-free market.

Ellon-based BrewDog last month announced it is opening a bar in London dedicated solely to drinks without alcohol. The brewer’s Drink All You Can Jan initiative will also see all of its bars offering free refills of alcohol-free beers throughout this month.

Meanwhile St Andrews beer maker and spirits producer Eden Mill has unveiled the launch of an alcohol-free offering known as Eden Nill and added two non-alcoholic gin mixers to its ready-to-drink cans range, while alcohol-free spirit Feragaia is aiming to boost its market presence during Dry January with a series of pop-up experiences.

Feragaia claims to be Scotland’s first non-alcoholic spirit and is distilled, blended and bottled in the Scottish Lowlands.

Strong Christmas at Innis & Gunn

Meanwhile Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn is looking to add further retail venues to its portfolio after toasting sales growth during the festive season.

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The beer maker has unveiled a 16 per cent revenue rise across the board at its taprooms in Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh in December, with sales from its own-brand lager growing by 17 per cent.

The group completed the transformation of its Beer Kitchen sites last year, relaunching them as Brewery Taprooms in August.

Innis & Gunn is now on the lookout for suitable sites across Scotland, with upcoming launches set to include a bar at its new Edinburgh brewery, which is expected to be operational next year.

Steve Drew, retail operations director at Innis & Gunn, said: “Our festive dining and gifting campaign has been a great success.

“Our three venues delivered 16 per cent like-for-like growth in December, with a 35 per cent increase in festive bookings and a 42 per cent increase in Christmas gifting.”