You’ve probably seen plenty of ads for Heineken’s zero alcohol beer. It’s not just a gimmick-of-the-moment, but part of a long-standing movement to bring beer to the masses. The first non-alcoholic beer was brewed way back in 1919 in the USA during the Prohibition, and in Germany, numerous brewers created non-alcoholic (or low alcohol) versions of their beers since the 70s. Most of these are drunk either by folks who need to drive, pregnant ladies, or partygoers who don’t want to have a hangover (or can’t drink).
If you’re one of those who thinks ‘why would I want to drink beer without the effects?’ then you probably are an alcoholic. But if you’re the type who simply wants to drink beer with friends without feeling left out (you don’t want to be the only soft drink drinker in the group), then you’d probably want to give these non-alcoholic beers a try. Best part is that all of these are available in Singapore, either at major supermarkets or Redmart.
Japan has been brewing non-alcoholic beers for a while now. Every major brand – Asahi, Sapporo, Kirin, Suntory – has their own version(s) of it, and all of them are based on lager (their main type of beer). Many of them, like Asahi Dry Zero and Suntory All-Free, boast zero calories! If you’re a first-time beer drinker, something like Suntory All-Free or Asahi Dry Zero have low bitterness and carbonation.
Interestingly, Suntory’s pink All-Free Collagen is targeted at ladies, which is slightly sweeter than the rest and actually contains collagen. For something even more gimmicky, Suntory also has ‘clear beer’ – packaged in a clear plastic bottle, it looks like soda so that office workers in Japan can have a taste of beer without feeling guilty.
Note: Most Japanese beers are 0.00% alcohol so there’s no trace of alcohol due to the fact that they’re not brewed, but flavoured like beer (the labels will say ‘beer-taste’ or ‘beer-taste beverage’). This is how they can also make them calorie-free!
Germany is famous for its weissbier, which is basically a cloudy beer with a banana aroma and heavier, sweeter taste. Not surprisingly, they have non-alcohol versions of it – unlike in Japan, these beers are actually brewed first as normal beer, and then another process is added to remove the alcohol. This means that while they’re alcohol-free, there’s trace amounts (like 0.05%).
All non-alcoholic weissbiers are available in 500ml bottles, like Paulaner and Schneider Weisse; both can also be sampled at Paulaner Brauhaus and Brotzeit respectively.
If you’re more of a pilsner fan (which is a lighter version of lager), Veltins has a non-alcoholic bottled version.
Other non-alcoholic beers
Of course, other major brewers are jumping in on the popularity of non-alcoholic beers. When a major brand like Heineken jumps in on this trend you know that others – like Miller or maybe Tiger – may jump on the bandwagon.
You can even get non-alcoholic beers from Italy (0.0 Birra Artigianale) and Korea (Kloud Clear Zero) which is part of Lotte.
More non-alcoholic beverages
The trend of non-alcoholic beverages is climbing – this is due to a market shift in drinking trends. More young people are shunning alcoholic drinks, and now those who are on medication or are pregnant can also have a taste of alcohol without the side effects. What’s more, you don’t have to stick to the boring soft drinks when you’re accompanying friends who are drinking alcohol.
It’s not just beer that’s non-alcoholic – you can even get traditional beverages like wine, prosecco, umeshu, and even gin without alcohol. This just shows how this non-alcoholic movement is gaining a lot of traction. It’s only a matter of time before drinking non-alcoholic beverages will be as common at bars and clubs as regular booze.