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Beer at Zero: Breweries Explore the Non-Alcoholic Space

Familiar breweries are entering the non-alcoholic space, and upstarts that focus solely on low-to-no-alcohol offerings are opening up. The breweries see growth in the category. Will U.S. consumers agree?

John Holl Jun 1, 2019 - 12 min read

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These are interesting times for beer. Styles have never been more diverse, ingredients are getting worked into recipes in new ways, and the once-scoffed-at flavored malt beverages now have a place among craft brewers. There’s also been a push in recent years toward lower-calorie beers, recipes formulated for and marketed to more health-conscious drinkers. And you might have noticed in recent months a number of non-alcoholic beers popping up on shelves.

That’s right, non-alcoholic (0.5 percent ABV or lower, if you want to be technical) beer is gaining traction, and what’s being produced now goes well beyond the long-established norms of Buckler and O’Doul’s. IPAs, hoppy lagers, blonde ales, stouts, and porters are all in the mix, and all are being made in various ways with the aim of giving drinkers a chance to feel as if they are having the real beer experience without the effects of alcohol.

“People are asking why we are seeing an uptick in interest with all the breweries entering the space, and a lot of it has been driven lately because there was very little innovation in a very long time,” says Ted Fleming of Partake Brewing in Alberta, Canada.

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John Holl is the author of Drink Beer, Think Beer: Getting to the Bottom of Every Pint, and has worked for both Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and All About Beer Magazine.