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Why we shouldn’t moan about the price of alcohol-free beer…. Or should we? - Posted by: HostHelp at 18.30, May 19 2019

A common complaint about alcohol-free and low-alcohol beer is that it’s too expensive. Many of us expect the price of it to be comparative with other non-alcoholic drinks like cola, lemonade or even soda water.

The problem is, it’s not really the alcohol that makes alcoholic beer pricier than non-alcoholic drinks.


Producing alcohol-free beer requires the same – if not more – expertise, ingredients and resources as regular beer. The lack of alcohol doesn’t make it an inferior product to alcoholic beer.

For instance, many alcohol-free beers are made by removing the alcohol after fermentation. This means the beer goes through the same brewing process as regular beer, with the added expense and effort of removing the alcohol while preserving the taste. Other alcohol-free beers use special yeasts that produce less alcohol or a mix of premium ingredients that allow the brewer to mimic the aroma, taste and mouthfeel of regular-strength beer without the alcohol. These ingredients don’t come cheap!

Ultimately, breweries big and small need to make a fair profit to operate as a viable business. If they don’t, they’ll stop making alcohol-free beer or worse, go under.  If you’re happy drinking cola and water when you’re avoiding alcohol, fine. However, if you want to drink great-tasting alcohol-free alternatives to alcoholic beer, you’ve got to pay a fair price. Otherwise, we’ll be left with less choice and less competition, pushing down the quality of the non-alcoholic beers that do survive.  I don’t want that – do you?             

The Pros and Cons of Non-Alcoholic Beer

Most people would probably agree that alcoholism is a big problem in our country.  Countless studies have been done and techniques have been used to try to prevent or treat alcoholism.  Some people may be wondering what role non-alcoholic beer can play in the treatment or prevention of alcoholism.  Seems logical, right?  Keep the beer; get rid of the alcohol in order to prevent dependence on alcohol.  As many beer drinkers already know, non-alcoholic beer may not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

History of Non-Alcoholic Beer

Non-alcoholic beer had its beginning in America during the Prohibition in 1919.  At this time brewing companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Schlitz, began producing “near beer” to get around the law of that time.  These drinks were malted beverages that had very low alcohol content (less than .5% alcohol by volume).  In order to remove the alcohol, it was either boiled or filtered from the beer.  It was argued by many that the process of removing the alcohol left the beer tasteless.  Over time, however, people found a way to sneak alcohol back into the bottle or keg of beer, an illegal process that resulted in “spiked beer”.

Today near beer is still made and sold, and in many states it is legal for even minors to purchase and drink it, though some states do require a person to be 21 to drink “non-alcoholic beer”.  This is because even non-alcoholic beer has some alcohol in it.

Perhaps a logical question would be: “What if individuals with alcohol abuse problems or alcoholics would switch to non-alcoholic beer?”  Wouldn’t that solve our problems?  Well, there are a few major problems with this solution.  First of all, alcohol-free beer in many peoples’ view still does not have the rich flavour of regular beer.  Secondly, even most non-alcoholic beer has a small amount of alcohol, which could cause relapse for recovering alcoholics.  Thirdly, research has shown that the smell of any kind of beer may be enough to cause reactions in an alcoholic’s mind, triggering cravings.  The smell may actually raise the brain’s level of dopamine, which gives the individual a high, making them want more.  It may be the anticipation of drinking alcohol that aids in the addiction for more.

Perhaps it is best for recovering alcoholics to refrain from even non-alcoholic beer for the best chances of recovery.

While it may not be the best way to satisfy a recovering alcoholic, non-alcoholic beer may have benefits to other individuals.  A study on this subject was done on Spanish nuns and was published online by Nutrition.  According to the study, nuns that drank non-alcoholic beer for 45 days had an increase in antioxidant levels in their bloodstream, something that could have positive effects on the cardiovascular system.

Whether non-alcoholic beer is everything beer drinkers had hoped for or not, it may be on future lists of health-friendly beverages.

Is drinking Alcohol free Beer just an expensive waste or time or valid for some people?

Let us know your opinion on Facebook or Email us directly.

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