The Top 5 Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Beer
Of the wide range of non-alc or low-alc drinks available to us now, non-alcoholic beer remains a fan favourite. So, let’s take a look at the history and benefits of non-alcoholic beer as they stand today.
The history of non-alcoholic beer
Did you know Non-alcoholic beer has actually been around since Medieval European times? Back then it was a staple at festivals for people who enjoyed the taste of a delicious ale but couldn’t afford the high price of the alcoholic beers sold by vendors and brewers. It was also a huge step up from the poor quality of the drinking water available to the general populace at the time.
Fast forward to today, where we have a need and a thirst for non-alcoholic beer and other alcohol-free beverages. People who love the taste of beer but have been assigned the designated driver for the night can still partake in their favourite lager or ale. Medical conditions that are emphasised by alcohol consumption don’t stop sufferers from enjoying a frothy pint. Tradies can have a cheeky drink at lunch and pregnant women can satisfy that golden ale craving. Beers containing no alcohol (0.5% ABV of less) are for just about everyone.
What started off as a sideline operation for a few brewers here and there has now evolved into an industry with worldwide reach and marketability. No longer are non-alc beers just a tasteless alternative to the real deal. They are ever evolving with new and exciting flavours popping up each and every day.
Mainstream brewers have jumped onboard with brands such as Carlton and Heineken introducing non-alcoholic versions of their much-loved classics in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Towards the end of 2019 Carlton United Brewery reported that “non-alcoholic, low-alcohol and mid-strength beers make up about 25 per cent of all CUB beer sales”.
Alcohol-free craft beers have taken the industry by surprise, producing some of the most exotic and innovative low and non-alcoholic beer recipes we’ve ever seen (or tasted). Brooklyn Brewery and Nirvana Brewery are just two of these crafty brands that have taken the non-alc world by storm. Germany, of course, are well on board the non-alc beer train. That is truly unsurprising considering they are one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of beer annually.
Across the board, non-alcoholic beer sales have continued to rise in Australia over the past decade which just goes to show that more people are considering their health and wellbeing. People across all generations don’t want to go out and get drunk, mortal, wasted, hammered – however, you describe a night of drunken shenanigans – they want to remember their nights out and not feel completely useless and hungover the next day. That’s something we at Sans Drinks can 100% get on board with.
Now, let’s get into the juicy bits. What actually are the benefits of drinking non-alcoholic beer and why are so many people jumping over the rails of the booze cruise and escaping to “dry” land with non-alc alternatives? Let’s dive in…
The benefits of drinking alcohol-free beer
1. You can enjoy the great taste of a delicious beer without the drunken effects and the next-day hangover.
Yes! Seriously, why is it that the older we get, the harder it is to recover from a big night on the town? Having a non-alcoholic version of our favourite drink to reach for is such a relief. Off-the-wagon beer lovers don’t have to turn to soft drink or mocktails. They can still enjoy a crisp, hoppy drink that tastes just like a regular beer. It’s a game-changer for beer enthusiasts everywhere.
2. You can stay hydrated for longer.
Beers with an alcohol volume of 2% can make you feel dehydrated. This is because alcohol is a “diuretic”. What this means is that it causes your body to try and flush out fluids. So, when you drink full-strength beer and other alcoholic beverages you’ll find you're making more frequent trips to the bathroom and finding yourself becoming dehydrated at an alarming rate. That’s why you generally wake up feeling like the Sahara Desert has made itself at home in your mouth the day after a night out on the town.
Non-alcoholic beer, in contrast, can help act as a form of hydration, rather than a diuretic. This is why some non-alcohol beers like Erdinger are chosen by athletes before, during and after they perform. We talk more about this in point 3.
3. Your athletic performance may be enhanced.
Speaking of athletes, there is good reason why a lot of pros choose non-alc beer not only when they’re off the playing field, but while they’re on it too.
You’ve heard of isotonic sports drinks, right? These are drinks that contain electrolytes and are absorbed quickly into the body. Well, many non-alcoholic beers contain those same properties. A published 2013 study, "Beer as a sports drink? Manipulating beer's ingredients to replace lost fluid" showed that non-alc beer containing electrolytes allowed athletes to retain more fluids. Multiple studies since then have confirmed these findings.
Polyphenols in non-alc beer (derived from the hops and malt) have been shown to assist in muscle recovery and improving physical performance.
Erdinger and a few other brewers have clued into this fact and market their beers around their “athletic prowess” with Olympians like Simon Schempp, a biathlete on the German team speaking out about his love of alcohol-free ale whilst in training.
4. Your body takes in less calories with less alcoholYep. You heard right. Most of the calories found in beer can be attributed to the alcohol content. Hence, lower calories, a healthier lifestyle and you may even avoid the dreaded “beer gut” when you make the switch to non-alc beer.
Less alcohol is also a plus. We all know that alcohol isn't good for the body (or mind). Reducing your alcohol intake is a great step in your personal wellbeing journey.
5. You increase your Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid intake.
Some non-alcoholic beers naturally contain Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in our general health and is commonly found in animal-based foods like poultry, eggs, dairy and meats. So for the vegans (like myself), this is another tick for non-alcoholic beer.
Increased Folic Acid intake is recommended in pregnant women and women trying to fall pregnant. Another reason why AF beer is popular among pregnant and breastfeeding women. Please note though, always check with your healthcare professional before first.
Our Favourite Non-Alcoholic Beers
We are huge fans of the Erdinger beer from Germany (as mentioned above), and are currently enjoying these other great finds (all available from Sans Drinks).
Known as the original Budweiser beer, this refreshing alcohol-free lager really knows how to make a mark on its consumers and is filling Aussie fridges by the carton. Natural ingredients include pure artisan water, hops, malt and yeast from their local Czech communities.
You’ll find no added sugar or preservatives and you’ll be greeted by a classic yeasty, malted aroma that all the best beers hold. The flavour is bold, sweet, lightly spiced and a little citrusy. A slightly bitter taste rounds out the full flavour profile, making this beer a delight to drink.
The German Purity Law comes into play here, as with all German beers. Only the finest quality, minimal ingredients are added to this brew.
The absolute finesse and experience with which this beer is made has come to light recently with this beer being awarded the 2020 International Taste Institute’s prestigious “Superior Taste Award”. So much for rumours of non-alc beer not tasting up to scratch, huh? With only 86 calories per 100ml, this beer alternative is definitely a front-runner.
Heineken spent a long while perfecting the double brewing process used to remove the alcohol from their regular beer recipe. The outcome: Heineken 0.0. with the same taste and mouthfeel as a classic Heineken beer, but with only 69 calories!
Fewer calories and alcohol are the differences that make this non-alc beer a much healthier option than its alcoholic counterpart.
Nirvana Brewery aren’t just known for their great tasting non-alcoholic beers, they are also passionate about doing their part to help save the environment in the process. This Certified Organic pale ale is their answer to a classic pale ale – without all the added sugar and preservatives.
Flavours such as tangerine and toffee come together with a hint of spice to craft a delicate, yet perfectly balanced brew.
So, what do you think? Are you keen to taste-test a few of these non-boozy beer alternatives?
The non-alcoholic drinks industry continues to grow and evolve as the days, weeks, months and years flow by. Who knows what brewers around the world will come up with next? We truly live in a world that is so open to change and innovation, there’s no telling what’s in store. Stay tuned as our online bottle-No is continuously being updated with the newest and best non-alcoholic beers as well as alcoholic-free wines and alt-spirits!