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Lagunitas launches new non-alcoholic IPA

Lagunitas Brewing Company Head Brewmaster Jeremy Marshall joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the company’s new alcohol-free IPA.

Video Transcript

AKIKO FUJITA: Let's move on here to talk about beer, Lagunitas Brewing Company just the latest to jump into the non-alcoholic trend, the company launching a new alcohol-free IPA. And of course, we should point out that Lagunitas is owned by Heineken International. We've got Jeremy Marshall, who is the head brewmaster of Lagunitas Brewing Company, also our very own Dan Roberts joining in on the conversation.

Jeremy, I have to say I'm all on board with this as somebody who does not drink alcohol. And I see you've got a sign up there for this new IPA. Talk to me about that, because we have seen a huge growth in non-alcoholic drinks from a Heineken, from an Asahi, many, many companies jumping into this space.

OK. Sounds like we need to try and fix-- there you go. You've got the drink in hand. Now we've got your audio.

JEREMY MARSHALL: I fell for the biggest trick of video conferencing, the forget to unmute yourself. So Heineken has been marketing a beer with their 0.0, following on stricter drinking and driving laws over in Europe, and then also the health and wellness trend that has been continuing on.

Basically, younger people are more interested in taking care of their bodies and less interested in drinking alcohol than their parents were. And then the pandemic, I think, has only increased this trend. So we want to have all of the flavor of a craft beer. As you can see, it's got rich color, a nice foam. If you could get the smell into the speaker somehow, you get hops and malt, and it really tricks you into thinking it's an IPA, but it's an IPNA.

DAN ROBERTS: Jeremy, Dan Roberts here. As you mentioned, young people drinking less alcohol. And as I understand it, maybe this has changed during the pandemic, but at least pre-pandemic, also drinking a smaller amount of alcohol when they do drink in a social setting. And so I know that that has, in part, fueled this non-alcohol or zero alcohol boom. We've written about all the different brands that have launched zero alcohol beers.

But I guess I'd ask you, isn't that concerning in the big picture, for beer makers? I mean, shouldn't that be alarming in terms of future sales if young people today don't drink as much?

JEREMY MARSHALL: Well, that's provocative. But that's why we just made this, you know? At the end of the day, the customer is always right. So you've got to pivot and you got to move quick.

DAN ROBERTS: And then I'd follow that up and ask you what other kind of macro trends you're seeing. You know, I remember the hard seltzer boom was in big effect right before the pandemic. Maybe that was just a summer thing. But that has appeared to slow a little bit, or at least you don't hear about it as often. Besides kind of trying to adapt to new tastes with zero alcohol, what are you seeing overall at Lagunitas in terms of consumer trends with beer or other drinks?

JEREMY MARSHALL: With beer, there is definitely still solid growth in the IPA category. So people like hops and all of the magic that hops can give you. You can get any smell out of hops from fruit to trees to things that trigger pleasant memories. There is a movement towards kombuchas and teas. The seltzer movement hasn't showed any signs of stopping. But at some point, we think people will come back to beer, and actual beer. So that's malted, barley, water, yeast, and hops.

DAN ROBERTS: Yeah. And I mean, when we talk about, I guess, kind of the changing aspects, people can turn to a non-alcoholic beer. You can turn to a cannabis beer, which is something we've also seen here as well. As a brewmaster and working with some of these different things here, what do you think, maybe, stands those apart considering it addresses kind of the same question, where maybe people don't want to have the calories associated with alcohol here, or that aspect. So as a brewmaster, how does that maybe shake out in where this industry goes from Here

JEREMY MARSHALL: Well, it definitely feels like this is the time where everybody is doing everything. So nothing is off the table. Things that previously were hard are now soft. So there's now non-alcoholic liquors coming out. Of course, people are adding cannabis into everything because cannabis has no calories, although I argue you find a way of getting those calories later.

But of course, the biggest problem with cannabis is the delivery method involved, smoking or vaporizing. And that's just not something that any doctor would ever recommend. So I do feel that the edible and drinkable cannabis category will continue to grow.

DAN ROBERTS: I do believe that was a subtle mention of the munchies there. I appreciate that getting its way here into the segment. Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas Brewing Company Head Brewmaster, appreciate you coming on here alongside Yahoo Finance's Dan Roberts. Be well, gentlemen.