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The rise of non-alcoholic beers and why they’re going mainstream

Are zero alcohol beers really zero alcohol? Read this to find out..

by: Oliver Wills | 25 Jun 2019
drinking beer

While many breweries have recently seen sales fall, the demand for non-alcoholic beers are conversely on the rise. The 0.0% beer category is potentially the biggest trend in beer since the introduction of the Lite category several years back. 

ALSO READ: We tasted de-alcoholised wine, and tbh it’s not amazing

That surge in popularity is believed to be led by the worldwide trend towards health and wellness, driven especially by Millennials. As a result, there’s been a movement away from fast food, sugary sodas and alcohol-laden beverages. 

Living a healthy lifestyle has never before been so trendy – vegan, low-carb, gluten-free and non-dairy lifestyles have become mainstream; gym and yoga memberships are at an all-time high; and, according to a Nielson report, 20 percent of us are actively trying to drink less alcohol. Cue the 0.0% beer! 

drinking beer

However, it’s important to know that not every beer labelled 0.0% is truly zero alcohol. Many beers specify 0.0%, but are in actuality 0.03%. According to the Advertising Standards Authority, these beers have to carry an alcohol warning and aren’t permissible for sale to persons under the age of 18. 

So what’s the difference? It all comes down to the method in which the beer is actually made.

Method 1: Removing the alcohol from an existing alcoholic drink

The drink is produced as per usual and the alcoholic content is then removed by a technique called extraction or evaporation. (Since alcohol has been present in the product in the first place, this method is not acceptable for those wishing to respect Islamic standards and would be considered haram.) 

Method 2: Manufacturing using cold contact

Fermentation is done at low temperatures, in combination with a long fermentation time. Very strict fermentation control is necessary in order to avoid an overshot in alcohol production. In addition to the risk of potential alcoholic overshot (resulting in a 0.03% beer), there’s a risk of flavour reduction.  

Method 3: Bioreactor technology

A bioreactor can be used to achieve controlled fermentation of specially-made immobilised yeast cells. During this fermentation, no alcohol formation whatsoever takes place. That means there’s no need for extraction, no risk of alcohol overshot and no flavour reduction.

Do you know which of these three categories your favourite non-alcoholic beer falls into?


What makes beer taste like beer?

Beer is one of the most consumed beverages on the planet and for good reason. It's delicious, refreshing and it has a huge variety of styles. by: Karl Tessendorf | 02 Mar 2018 Images: iStock They range from spritzy blondes and rich ambers to punchy IPAs and stout, well, stouts.

Read more on: beer  |  trends  |  drinks

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