This Style May Be the Worst to Brew as a Non-Alcoholic Variety

Wiseacre co-founder Davin Bartosch gets excited for non-alcoholic beers. At least according to his brother, and co-founder Kellan. 

“He had a really cool experience with any beers in Germany and when he gets excited, it’s good for us,” Kellan said during a cover story interview last year with Brewer. At the time, the brewery had purchased some equipment to start to think of diving into NA products but has mostly looked into RTDs and hop water, the latter being named Hop Zip, a lime-infused variety that debuted during Dry January this year.

In Europe, though, Davin said there’s just way more experience and interest in NA beers. 

“In the US it’s very much in its infancy,” he said. “For the past 30 years, NA beer has just been for people that still want to drink a beer. It’s really changing to be something more that, people are consciously just choosing to not drink alcohol. It’s more of a lifestyle decision than a, ‘this is what I have to drink, so I’m drinking it.’”

The ability to choose something good tasting in the American NA market has never been easy though and craft beer is helping push that with better tasting styles. 

In Europe, Davin said, they’ve been doing it for a long time. 

“I don’t know what the exact number is, but it’s, it’s probably closer to like 20-30% of beer in Europe is NA. It’s just hugely popular,” he said. “A lot of times just having more experienced means they’re just a lot better at it than we are.”

READ MORE: New Report Shows Huge Opportunity for Non-Alcoholic Beverage Industry to Accelerate Production

The last time he was in Germany, he was drinking all the NA beer that he could find to find inspriation. 

“It’s also really entertaining to be able to drink beer and drive,” he said. “That, you can’t normally do.”

Early NA beer in the US has primarily been Light Lagers, which Davin said is the worst style of beer to create an NA brand for. This is what helps American craft NA beer.

“The alcohol is a lot of the flavor in those really light beers,” he said. “So IPA makes tons of sense. But, in Europe, all of the wheat beers are really what I think turned out to be beautiful NA beers.  

“Belgian Wits and Hefes have a lot of flavors that come from the yeast and they really stick with the beer after the alcohol has been removed. So ends up being a much tastier NA beer.”

Photo courtesy Wiseacre

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