Following on from reports of the growing popularity of low or alcohol-free wines, it would seem that beer manufacturers are responding to the growing demand for more alcohol-free beers as alternatives to traditional brews.
A German brewery, Stortebeker, reported an increase in sales of up to 40% in 2018, as compared to the previous year. It describes how brewery workers were waiting at the doors of their bottling depot for empty returns to wash and refill, during the 2018 summer heatwave.
A spokesperson for the brewery, Elisa Raus, said:
“We literally could not produce it as fast as it was being drunk.”
One of the reasons for the dramatic increase is thought to be the big improvements to the manufacturing process which has greatly improved the flavour. Alcohol-free beers in the past have been described as ‘flat and tasteless’, but are now growing in reputation as more beer manufacturers perfect the de-alcoholisation process.
Evaporated alcohol flavour is returned to the beer during the vacuum distillation method, while during the arrested fermentation process, a sudden drop in the brewing temperature stops the alcohol content from reaching more than 0.5% . Both methods help to retain the traditional hoppy flavour of beer, without the high alcohol content.
As customers continue to drink both traditional and alcohol-free beers, it may be hard to tell them apart, when both types of beers are likely to be served in the same engraved drinkware bearing a brewery’s name or logo.