It’s been a long road since the dawn of alcohol-free drinks. Back then, the only options were flat-tasting alcohol-free beer, and wine that tasted mostly like grape juice. But that has all changed! These days, the booze-free options range from beer, wine, and even gin. And as technology advances, so do dealcoholization techniques. This means the end product gives you the taste of the drinks you love, without the buzz!
Alcohol-free drinks started to slowly become a thing in the 20th century. At that time, dealcoholization techniques were not the best. And even big brands were only able to provide a beer that tasted somewhat like a bland, flat soda drink. This discouraged most beer drinkers to even try alcohol-free beers again and mostly scoffed at those who drank it.
It slowly withered away, and those that preferred to abstain from alcohol had the limited choices of sodas and fruit juices. Recently, however, there has been a surge in drink offerings that won’t leave you with a headache in the morning. There are a few reasons why people are opting for alcohol-free: religious and cultural background, health-consciousness, or perhaps just to avoid a hangover the next day! One study even estimates that about 20% of young adults abstain from alcohol. Whatever the reason, craft beverages are offering a variety of new options to consumers, and the trend won’t be fading away any time soon!
Depending on which country you live in, the term ‘alcohol-free’ has various definitions. Some countries require that alcohol-free drinks should be less than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), while others require it to be less than 0.05% ABV. So even if a product is labelled as ‘alcohol-free’, there could still be small amounts of alcohol in your drink.
Beer is still one of the most successful alcohol-free beverages, mostly because it tastes like the real thing, minus the alcohol of course. Reviewers prefer Heineken’s 0.0% lager, stating that it’s ‘remarkably similar to regular Heineken’.
Wine has not been that successful, and this is probably due to the high percentage of alcohol of the starting product. Once you remove the alcohol, a lot must be added to make it somewhat flavorsome, and this changes the familiar wine taste completely.
The new kid on the block is alcohol-free gin. The Duchess launched the first alcohol-free gin and tonic in South Africa in 2016, and since then it has won many awards. Consumers are pleased that they get the juniper taste they are used to, but not the hangover!
Have you tried any good alcohol-free beverages lately? Tell us in the comments below!