How to create alcohol-free beer according to these brewers
The alcohol-free trend is continuing to make its way, especially in alcohol-free beer. To develop the best ones, these experts reveal how to get there.
Photo: Dan Gooderham – by Anthony Cullen – Via The Drinks Business
Dan Gooderham, Brewmaster at Adnams
“Technology has improved a lot, but historically, with the low-alcohol beers that were around in the past, thermal separation was pretty rough,” Gooderham tells The Spirits Business. “Basically, you get cooked flavors, which is fine for certain styles of beer, but when you look at Ghost Ship 0.5, it’s a pretty hoppy beer. The membrane filtration really preserves all the hop flavor, and we still have that incredible fermentation, which produces all the other secondary flavors in the beer.”
Hugo Tapp – Loah Beer – A low-calorie, 0.5% ABV lime-flavored lager
“I think, along with the “no and low” alcohol movement, is the health push. And that was a really important element in planning the product. For me, the top priority for Loah as a product was to make it low-calorie, low-sugar, gluten-free if we could get it, and vegan,” Tapp says. “The taste came later, once I could be sure I would get a product that was somewhat healthy.”
For his alcohol-free beer, Tapp uses a limited fermentation method, brewing the ingredients in the same way as a regular beer, before lowering the temperature to inhibit the yeast’s ability to break down the sugars.
“We use fresh, high-quality ingredients, but we don’t use a large amount in terms of volume for brewing. We’re pretty picky about what we put in so that it’s low in calories and low in sugar.”
Larger scale brewers : Stella Artois and Budweiser.
“We brew all Stella Artois alcohol-free beer following exactly the same process as regular Stella Artois, but removing the alcohol,” says Sam Cernak, marketing director for Stella Artois UK. “From a consumer appeal point of view, we had been receiving requests from consumers to launch Stella Artois non-alcoholic, and bring the taste of the UK’s best-loved beer to the category,” adds Cernak.
“This process is key to helping us maintain the same taste that consumers love, as the brewing process and the malts, hops and yeast used give Stella Artois its unique flavor.”
Stella Artois, a global brand with a loyal customer base, also uses natural beer and hop flavors to replicate its original offering.
Parent company Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I aims to make 20% of its volumes low or zero alcohol by 2025, expanding untapped occasions, such as lunchtime, and appealing to younger, more conscientious consumers.
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