Sober October is upon us now. For many people, this represents a good opportunity to focus on healthier living choices, as well as raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support. It can also provide great motivation for discovering some tasty non alcoholic options.
A few months ago, I reviewed this year's Low2NoBev show, the only dedicated trade fair for the burgeoning no/low alcohol category. There were many producers there and, as the article shows, quite a few highlights. The choice of good alternatives to full-strength beers, wine and spirits just keeps on improving year-on-year. The quality of new no/low alcohol beers launched in the past year or two is particularly impressive. One of these and a real stand-out at Low2NoBev is UNLTD..
Founder Johnny Johnson launched his alcohol-free premium craft beer brand in June 2020. Starting with a lager, he followed that up with an IPA towards the end of April 2021. It hasn't taken him long to win awards, including two European Beer Challenge Golds, as well as Gold Medals for the bottle design at the World Beer Awards. More recently, UNLTD. IPA won a bronze at the World Beer Awards!
UNLTD.'s real point of difference from other beers is the number of calories it contains and also its nutritional value. The lager has only 23 calories per 330ml bottle, is low in carbohydrates, is vegan-friendly, gluten-free and contains added B-vitamins. The IPA is the lowest calorie beer in the UK, at only 13 calories per bottle! Both beers are 0.5% ABV.
Johnny chose the ingredients for their nutritional values. "We wanted our beer to have enough vitamins B6 & B12 to be able to state it on our labels, to further promote the healthy benefits of our AF beer. We launched in June 2020, right in the middle of the first lockdown. That was a challenge, but it's gone really well."
The name has a special meaning for Johnny, as he explains. "UNLTD. (Unlimited) came from the feeling I had from ditching the booze. When I took a break from booze, I felt truly unlimited. I was more productive, was exercising more and the potential I felt was limitless. That's where UNLTD. came from. It also ties in nicely with being able to drink unlimited amounts without getting drunk!"
When Johnny came up with the idea for an alcohol-free beer, he had already found plenty of good options in the off-trade. However, the choice in pubs, bars and restaurants was lacking quality and this was something he wanted to improve. "I started the business due to the lack of good AF alternatives in bars, pubs and restaurants. "When I first changed my relationship with alcohol in 2019, the AF options available were very few. I found that the best drinks could only be bought online. So, I decided this needed to change and set out to create a delicious alcohol-free beer. I made it my mission to get it into as many pubs, bars and restaurants as I could, so that I, along with others who don't want to drink alcohol, would have a better option."
Because of lockdown, online sales have been the focus and Johnny will continue to seek retail opportunities. However, he is now looking to expand further into the on-trade and UNLTD. is due to be stocked at Frontier pubs and Drake & Morgan bars. The beers are also exported to New Zealand, Australia and Singapore.
This alcohol-free lager delivers light citrus aromas with a slightly floral edge and a little tinge of grassiness. The citrus character continues on the palate, bolstered by a touch of honey and caramel, leading to a refreshing and subtly bitter finish with a hint of bitter lemon.
This full-flavoured, convincing alcohol-free IPA has aromas of grapefruit, tropical fruits and roasted malts. The palate is smooth with the roasted malt character continuing, adding a hint of toffee, while the fruity edge is still there although less overt. There's a pleasantly bitter mouthfeel from the hops throughout and a decent length finish.
🍺 You can buy UNLTD.'s alcohol-free beer through the website for £15 (case of 6 x 330ml bottles), £25 (case of 12) or £48 (case of 24). Additionally, there's a 10% discount to customers who subscribe to one of UNLTD.'s beer cases. This streamlined service allows you to have beer delivered at the frequency that suits (weekly, monthly, bi-monthly) with payments automatically processed. 🍺