Alcohol-free beer sector grows

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Coopers has seen a surge in sales of its alcohol-free beer, which is brewed according to the German purity law, and then the alcohol is extracted using a centrifuge.

Coopers has seen sales of the international premium quality beer Holsten 0.0% surge more than 20% in the past 12 months.

“The product’s brewed according to the German purity law, so all we’re allowed to put in it is malt, water, hops and yeast,” says Scott Harris, the marketing manager of brewing products, Coopers.

“It’s brewed like a normal beer, like a normal Pilsner and then they remove the alcohol with a centrifuge, and because alcohol stems from the water, they can pull the alcohol out.”

“The rest of the process is pretty much done like a normal beer…so we don’t actually do anything specifically that you wouldn’t do to a normal beer, apart from remove the alcohol from the beer with a centrifuge.”

The process does change the taste of the beer, but only “slightly”, due to the process used.

“Alcohol does add flavour to a beer but I think what’s interesting about this particular beer, is that due to the way they take it out, you still get the full sort of flavour that you would get from a beer.

“There’s other ways of making lower alcohol beers, like stopping the fermentation early and things like that, they tend to result in a heavier beer, because you’ve got a lot of unfermented products in there still. I think the way this one’s done; it’s quite crisp and dry and has good drinkability.”

Harris says the product caters to a market of people that either can’t, or don’t want to drink alcohol in certain situations.

“There’s a general growth in non-alcoholic products out there in general…people are generally more health conscious, so we’re tending to find that some people for social reasons want to be able to go to the pub, or a party and still fit in with everyone and have a beer, rather than a coke.

“We’ve also got that some people that for health reasons can’t drink it, or people saying to us that they have a couple of beers every day and what they’re doing now is, every second day they’ll have a couple of non-alcoholic beers.

“There’s all these people coming into it but I think as an over-arching comment, we can say that people are looking at more healthy alternatives.”

Harris said recent decisions by major liquor retailers around Australia to position Holsten 0.0% in the beer section of the store instead of the no-alcohol section is also having a significant impact.