Are Non-Alcoholic Beers the Next Craze?

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The hazy New England style brews are in the midst of a honeymoon amongst craft beer lovers. But what’s the next craze to make those connoisseurs swoon? The numbers suggest that non-alcoholic beers could be next.

As consumption of beer worldwide contracted by 1% in 2016, the market for non-alcoholic brews increased by 5%. That data comes from the research firm Euromonitor International.

Big Beer is Leading the Charge

Of course, Big Beer is already getting in on the action.

Anheuser-Busch InBev released non-alcoholic versions of Budweiser and Corona last year. And they predict that by 2025, non-alcoholic beers will comprise 20% of their overall production. Heineken released its Heineken 0.0 last year as well. Diageo, owner of the Guinness brand, released their Open Gate Pure Brew last month. Carlsberg has been brewing non-alcoholic beers for the past few years and expects its revenue from that segment to triple its growth compared to its overall beer sales.

Why the surge in growth? Right now, the options are few for health-conscious consumers who want to enjoy a beer but can’t handle the alcohol.

And there’s another reason for breweries to produce more non-alcoholic beers: it just makes financial sense. Because there’s no alcohol tax to pay, breweries can rake in 1.5 times more revenue.

Where is Craft Beer?

Non-alcoholic beers have the reputation for being awful but some brewers are trying to reshape that thinking.

There’s a common thread amongst the brewers. When their own health concerns forced them to turn away from alcohol, they sought non-alcoholic craft beers to fill the void. Unfortunately, they discovered that the only options were bad.

Partake Brewing offers a non-alcoholic IPA and will be releasing a Stout and Lager in the near future. WellBeing Brewing Company offers a Wheat Ale and an Amber. Bravus Brewing Company offers an IPA, Oatmeal Stout, and Amber. Nirvana Brewery sells an IPA, Pale Ale, and Stout.

But how do they taste? While I’ve not personally tasted any of them, below is a video from a blind taste test with Partake Brewing’s IPA.

While it doesn’t appear any of the major American craft breweries are currently producing any non-alcoholic beers, if that niche becomes as successful as predicted, perhaps they won’t be far behind.

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