No and low-alcohol beers, wines and spirits are a growing trend, both in the UK and beyond. Beer is leading the way and the choice available to UK consumers is set to become even more varied in 2019, as this segment of the market shows faster growth than overall beer sales. Indeed, according to Kantar Worldpanel, non-alcoholic beer earned supermarkets £7.6 million over the recent festive season.
Definitions in this sector can be confusing, so a little clarification is called for! In most of Europe, the 'no alcohol' or 'alcohol-free' label applies to beers of up to 0.5% ABV, while in the UK the term is reserved strictly for beers with no more than 0.05% ABV. De-alcoholised beers, i.e. beers with alcohol removed, are no more than 0.5% ABV, whereas low alcohol beers have a maximum level of 1.2% ABV in UK law.
Critics of the category have all too often denounced these beers as having little flavour or body and not feeling or tasting like beer at all. However, there are many examples from both smaller breweries and well-established international brands that prove the opposite and one of the best exponents is Krombacher Brewery, founded in 1803. Nearly 200 years later in 1999, Krombacher Low Alcohol Pils was launched and this was followed in 2008 by a Radler (shandy) and a Wheat Beer.
Stephan Kofler, Krombacher UK, Sales & Marketing Director, comments on the rising popularity of low/no alcohol beers: "Germany has been leading the way in this category for decades and our low alcohol range has seen year-on-year double digit growth since 2014 in the UK alone. A new generation of youngsters are cutting down on alcohol and a better choice of low/no drinks have all contributed to the category's rise. This competition has meant standards have been raised around the world with taste quality now of paramount importance."
Krombacher Low Alcohol Pils, Germany's most popular alcohol-free Pils, has exactly the same ingredients, including Felsquellwasser® (mountain spring water) and Hallertau hops, as the full-strength version, which is Germany's best-selling premium Pilsner. Made using a combination of two different brewing methods, one which interrupts the fermentation process before alcohol starts to develop and one which removes alcohol from fully brewed beer, it delivers plenty of recognizable beer aromas and flavours.
Light gold in colour with a delicate malty nose, this delivers a crisp, clean palate with a light touch. An initial sweet hint leads to a fine malty flavour with a refreshingly dry and delicate hoppy bitterness plus good length. The recommended drinking temperature is 6°C.
This is a thirst-quenching, flavourful beer that taps into both the trend for lower alcohol drinks and reduced calorie intake. At 27kcal/100ml, it has about 30% fewer calories than standard alcoholic beers and compares favourably to orange juice (39kcal/100ml) and cola (42kcal/100ml). It's also isotonic and contains natural vitamins. So, if you're keeping a Dry January or just looking for a healthier alternative to full-strength beer that still tastes and feels like a Pils but without the alcohol, then Krombacher offers one of the best choices available. Prost!
Krombacher Low Alcohol Pils is available online from The Dry Drinker for £8.99 per case of 6 bottles or £15.99 for a case of 12.