Non-alcoholic beverage consumption among US adults who consume alcohol

Molly A. Bowdring, Denis M. McCarthy, Catharine E. Fairbairn, Judith J. Prochaska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Aims: Non-alcoholic beverages (NABs) that mimic alcohol without inducing intoxication, such as non-alcoholic beers, non-alcoholic wines and spirit-free drinks, are increasing in popularity. It is unknown whether NABs help to mitigate or stimulate alcohol use. The present study aimed to describe NAB consumption practices among US adults consuming alcohol, characterize who is likely to consume NABs and examine whether NAB use influences desire for and perceived consumption of alcohol. Design and Participants: The survey study used data collected June–July 2023 from an on-line convenience sample. The first survey (n = 1906) assessed frequency of NAB consumption among US adults who consume alcohol. A second more detailed survey on use patterns was conducted with 466 respondents who reported past-year NAB consumption, of whom 153 (32.83%) screened positive on the CAGE questionnaire for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Setting: This study took place in the United States. Measurements: NAB consumption measures included type of NAB consumed, frequency, quantity, first consumption age, consumption reasons, consumption contexts and perceived effect on desire for and consumption of alcohol. Alcohol use measures included frequency, quantity and first consumption age. Findings: Past-year NAB use was endorsed by 28.44% of respondents (61.70% ever used). Non-alcoholic liquor/‘mocktails’ were the most common NAB type consumed (83.69%). Compared with respondents without AUD, those who screened positive for AUD were significantly more likely to consume NABs in an effort to decrease or abstain from drinking alcohol [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 3.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.24–5.58] and 67.97% endorsed less alcohol consumption (3.23% endorsed more) due to their NAB use. NAB consumption frequency and quantity were significantly positively predicted by alcohol consumption frequency (AOR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.17–1.83) and quantity (β = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.15–0.35), respectively. Conclusion: Adults who consume alcohol and screen positive for alcohol use disorder report drinking non-alcoholic beverages as a harm reduction strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1089
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • Alcohol-free
  • NA drinks
  • dry January
  • harm reduction
  • sober curiosity
  • zero alcohol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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