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Saturday, Apr 20, 2024

The brewing secrets behind tastier no-alcohol beer

Joe Thomson, overlooking his brewery, has seen a surge in demand for the non-alcoholic beer Shorebreak, which became Firebrand Brewing Company's top canned beer since its 2022 launch in Launceston, Cornwall.
In the UK, the market for low and no-alcohol beer has increased significantly in sales value and volume between 2021 and 2023, according to Mintel. This is driven by a desire for healthier beer alternatives that still taste like traditional beer, despite alcohol's key flavor-enhancing role.

Brewers must get creative to craft flavorful non-alcoholic beers. Common methods include arrested fermentation, where Firebrand limits the malted barley to reduce fermentation.

They also manipulate sugars, ingredients, and temperatures to simulate the beer experience. Another approach by Impossibrew involves cryogenically halting fermentation to maintain flavor and adding a blend of nootropic herbs to replicate the relaxing effect of alcohol.

Major brewers like Heineken utilize expensive vacuum distillation to produce non-alcoholic beers that closely match the original's taste profile, compensating for lost flavors post-evaporation. Innovations such as aroma capture technology have also improved the sensory experience.

Lucky Saint focuses on using just four traditional beer ingredients and heavily invests in the upfront brewing and vacuum distillation processes. Some new yeast strains enable full fermentation with minimal alcohol production.

Athletic Brewing Company, secretive about their unique technique, produces a fully fermented non-alcoholic beer without altering ingredients and operates large-scale breweries in Connecticut and San Diego.

While the industry progresses and blends old and new methods, Mintel's Alice Baker suggests there is room for growth, with added health benefits like vitamins, ingredients for relaxation, and nutrients for post-exercise recovery being potential future trends in the non-alcoholic beer category.

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