Is Non-Alcoholic Beer a Trend in the Craft World?

Jim Gorczyca, the CEO of St. Louis’ O’Fallon Brewery, sees an untapped market and he hopes his brewery can help tap into it.

That market is non-alcoholic beer.

“It’s been stagnate for sales over the last 10 years, but there has been very little innovation as well,” he pointed out. “And there isn’t craft non-alcoholic beer. With more choice and more flavor that can be some opportunity.”

The opportunity that O’Fallon is investing in is the purchasing of equipment from Germany to do vacuum distillation. The brewery has already cut holes in the roof and installation begins this week with the first product to hit shelves either late this year or early 2018 through the O’Fallon Brewery.

It won’t have the O’Fallon name on the bottle, instead the brewery is working with WellBeing Brewing, a start up company run by Gorczyca’s longtime associate, Jeff Stevens.

The two worked together while at Anheuser-Busch and later reconnected while both working in London as well.

So far, two craft styles of NA beer will be produced: Hellraiser Brown Ale and the Heavenly Body Golden Wheat.

“It’s still a small market share (about 2 percent of all beer sales in the US) but sales are a bit better in Europe, nearly 10 percent,” Gorczyca said. “Some big guys speculate that it could be upwards of 20-30 percent in the future. I’m not too sure on that, but there is a market.”

The details took about a year to work out, namely ordering the equipment along with O’Fallon having to acquire a distilling licence and also an alternate proprietor licence to begin contract brewing the WellBeing beers.

The ability to offer a craft beer offering may not have a huge mass appeal, but the small and possibly growing market is there. O’Fallon is betting on the fact that a return on investment is achievable.

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