Does non-beer alcohol beer have alcohol? Shockingly yes. Despite all that marketing gimmick of the beer being ‘non-alcoholic,’ there are plenty out there that contain traces of alcohol enough to be noticed. This was due to the start of the ‘so-called’ non-alcoholic beer movement that has been well underway since then. You might have probably seen the six-packs labeled “non-alcoholic” in the market in the past few decades. However, these are the watered-down versions of the original beer. In the past, these were usually tasteless and marketed for people focused on sobriety.
However, there is still a microscopic segment within the beer industry, i.e., non-alcoholic beer. This makes up about 1% but has made a remarkable leap. Now, you do not need to sacrifice the removal of the alcohol for flavor. Thus, the ever-expanding craft beer scenario is generally to thank for the rise in popularity of non-alcoholic beer. These options can be easily found at your local craft brewery as well.
While the taste has dramatically improved, one still wonders – is the non-alcoholic beer healthier in comparison? Let us take a look at some of the details:
How much alcohol does non-alcoholic beer have? Well, this greatly depends on the brand and the method of manufacture as well. But first, let us take a look at what is meant by non-alcoholic beer and why it is called so. Generally, non-alcoholic beer is any beer composed of all or most alcohol removed. Hence, the resulting beer has an ABV of about 0.0-0.5%. Previously, non-alcoholic beers were considered to taste bland and watery. However, the new innovators have significantly improved the quality and the market for non-alcoholic beers.
You will be surprised to discover that some of the current range of non-alcoholic beers are almost identical in taste and fragrance to regular beer. Also, the varieties available are now countless, as the days of just one type of non-alcoholic beer being available. Various brands have a wide range in every style, like hazy, IPAs, lagers, golden ale, light, sour, and even seasonal flavors like Oktoberfest.
Alcohol Content in Non-Alcoholic Beer
The standard size of a shot can vary depending on the country and the type of liquor being served. However, in the United States, a standard shot is typically defined as 1.5 ounces (44 milliliters). This is the amount commonly used for making cocktails and is the reference point for determining alcohol content.
Measuring Alcohol in Non-Alcoholic Beer: How Much Alcohol is in Alcohol-Free Beer?
To know about this better, we need to be able to understand the method of measurement.
So, how do the manufacturers and home brewers manage to accurately measure the percentage of alcohol in the beverages they prepare? Let us look at the different ways of measuring the alcohol percentages in common beverages.
The first method comprises an instrument called a hydrometer. This generally comprises a small weighted tube with a numerical scale on it. In This method, the user needs to submerge the hydrometer tube into a container with a sample of the alcoholic beverage in it. The tube will sink equal to an amount that depends on how dense your alcoholic beverage is.
The density of the alcoholic liquid will change during the process of fermentation. This is generally because the sugar is converted into alcohol, as in the case of beer, bubbles of carbon dioxide, as well. Before the start of fermentation, the liquid that contains sugars that will be converted to alcohol is much denser as compared to the alcohol. It is because of this that the hydrometer floats more before fermentation. Once the fermentation is done, the sugars contained are converted into alcohol. This will cause the hydrometer to sink more after fermentation.
To be able to measure the ABV, you need to make two measurements using the hydrometer. One is before fermentation, and one is afterward. With the help of these measurements, you can discover how much sugar in the beverage has changed into alcohol during the process of fermentation. You need to subtract the first reading from the second one, and then by making a simple calculation, you can find out how much alcohol is in the present.
The second method is using a refractometer. This is yet another simple instrument that can be used to measure the concentration of substances dissolved in a liquid. Once the light hits a liquid, it changes direction; this phenomenon is known as refraction.
The Refractometers measure the degree to which the light changes direction. To know better, in an alcoholic beverage, the amount of sugar as well as alcohol greatly affects how the light refracts within the liquid.
Finally, there are various other factors like temperature, the quality of alcohol produced, and the other components extracted from ingredients like barley in beer. These tend to change the amount of refraction that occurs throughout the fermentation process. Hence, to get an exact ABV, various factors must be considered to make a good calculation. Refractometers are generally used to measure the initial sugar concentration before fermentation and much less so afterward, as they require more extensive corrections than hydrometer measurements. It is hence considered less precise at this point.
Factors Affecting Alcohol Content
Some various important factors and situations affect the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels:
The Speed at which You Drink
The more quickly an individual drinks, the more quickly their peak BAC will rise, and the more quickly they will get intoxicated. The liver metabolizes the alcohol at the speed of approximately one standard drink per hour: 12 oz. beer, 5 oz. Wine, .5 ounces or a “shot” of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor like gin, rum, vodka, or whiskey.
If you consume more than one drink per hour, then the liver is not able to maintain the pace, and more alcohol will, thus, circulate within the bloodstream. This will continue till the liver manages to catch up. So you see, this is why the more alcohol in the blood, the higher the intoxication level.
On average, the men have 76 c.c. of blood /kg body weight, and for the women, it is 66 c.c. of blood /kg body weight. Hence, the men have more blood to dilute the alcohol due to their larger size, but also, the men of the same weight as women comprise mildly more blood in which to dilute alcohol. This is mainly because the muscle tissue contains more water as compared to the fat tissue. Hence, in the case of those men who have more muscle and less fat as compared to the women, they can have about 10 percent more water in their bodies.
It is found that higher altitudes will lead to more intoxication as compared to the sea level. However, studies conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration do not confirm this common belief. Likewise, for people living at higher altitudes, the body tends to compensate for the thinner air by producing more blood in which to carry oxygen. Hence, more blood by weight results in more dilution of alcohol.
Food Contained in the Stomach
Did you know that about 20 percent of alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream directly through the stomach walls? Likewise, 80 percent of the food is absorbed into the bloodstream through the small intestine. If food is in the stomach, the alcohol is absorbed more slowly into the bloodstream. Food contained within the stomach slows down the absorption of alcohol by preventing it from entering directly into the small intestine. This is where the majority of alcohol enters the bloodstream. However, the effects of alcohol will still take place, though at a slower rate.
There are various misconceptions and myths surrounding the non-Alcoholic beer. Let us debunk a few prime ones:
1. They Are Full Of Sugar
This myth is because some of the early non-alcoholic beers, ciders, and especially wines, were loaded with sugars. However, as the alcohol-free market is expanding and changing swiftly, many non-alcoholic drinks are now prepared through a careful distillation process. This implies that they often do not contain more sugar as compared to their alcoholic counterparts.
Today, most alcohol-free beverages comprise significantly low sugar and even lower calories. Also, as they do not contain alcohol, they do not cause any problems with insulin production.
2. They include Unhealthy Food Additives and Flavourings.
Alcohol-free beverages are generally considered to be blends of fresh and natural botanicals that have been infused and distilled to create a deep and delicious taste. However, not only are these just natural, but they also include nutrients and vitamins. These are good for human consumption, for example, iron, potassium, folic acid, zinc, and B12.
3. Alcohol-Free Spirits Are Just Flavoured Water
Generally speaking, the alcohol-free beers have been infused and distilled multiple times with an entire range of different botanicals. This implies that they tend to develop quite sophisticated and layered flavors. Finally, most times, they do mimic alcohol very well.
4. Alcohol-Free Drinks are Boring
Not. It is great fun to enjoy an ‘Alcoholic-pretense’ and yet not suffer a hangover the next day.
Alcohol-Free vs. Low-Alcohol
Let us take a look at the main difference between alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic beer:
The concept of Low alcohol labeling
Three categorizations apply to drinks produced:
- Alcohol-free: no more than 0.05%ABV
- De-alcoholized: no more than 0.5% ABV
- Low alcohol: no more than 1.2% ABV
This implies that the ‘alcohol-free’ beers can comprise a very small amount of alcohol. But how much is 0.05% ABV? To offer some context, a pint or 568ml of 1% ABV beer contains just over half a unit of alcohol; this is why 0.05% ABV drinks can be labeled as alcohol-free. This is for the UK population.
However, across Europe and in the USA, ‘alcohol-free’ implies anything under 0.5% ABV; hence, the imported products can be labeled differently
The non-alcoholic drink
‘Non-alcoholic’ are those drinks that do not contain any alcohol. These include soft drinks such as cola or orange juice and mocktails that do not include ingredients that are alcoholic. The government guidelines included for a labeling state that:
“the term non-alcoholic should not be used “in conjunction with a name commonly associated with an alcoholic drink” except for non-alcoholic wine that is used exclusively for religious purposes.
So, while one can refer to these as ‘non-alcoholic’ beers, they can be labeled as ‘alcohol-free’ beers as long as they stay under 0.05% ABV.
Benefits and Considerations
Does the consumption of non-alcoholic beer have any health benefits at all? You bet. Here are a few of them:
1. Helps in Post-Exercise Recovery
This is because the sodium contained in the non-alcoholic beer benefits recovery following exercise. Also, the fluids and carbohydrates that beer comprises also help your body to revive after strenuous exercise.
2. Rehydrates the Body
Various research has shown the rehydration capacity and diuretic effect of beer with a range of different alcohol contents from zero to four percent. Hence, generally speaking, the lower the alcohol content, the better able it is to rehydrate the body.
3. Improves Heart Health
Experts also state that non-alcoholic beer is good for your cardiovascular health. This is mainly due to the polyphenols the beer comprises, like polyphenol xanthohumol, which is a compound derivative of hops.
4. Improves Copper Metabolism
One of the main non-alcohol components of beer helps promote better copper metabolism by helping to reduce the severity of a copper deficiency.
5. Enhances Better Sleep
Hops is the main ingredient common in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beer. They are used for their preservative properties and unique flavor. However, the compounds xanthohumol and myrcenol in hops also have been known to have soothing effects and are thought to enhance sleep patterns.
6. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Much similar to the fact that hops in beer help enhance better sleep, experts have discovered that consuming alcohol-free beer also reduces feelings of anxiety and stress. Experimental studies have depicted how drinking alcohol-free beer can affect anxiety levels among groups under stress. Here, the Participants had to rate their stress levels during two weeks of drinking the beer for every evening. The experts later compared this to a control period when they did not drink beer in the evening. It was thus found that the Participants self-reported lower anxiety and stress levels during the experimental phase. Also, the physical tests confirmed this effect.
The Impact on Consumers
So, what is the effect of non-alcoholism on the consumer? It is considered to be a life-saver in most cases, as there is a case of a ‘drinking problem’ that we are facing. Let us take a look at some of the more alarming facts related to alcohol consumption:
In the United States, a standard drink comprises 0.6 ounces or 14.0 grams or 1.2 tablespoons of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in
- Twelve ounces of beer (5% alcohol content).
- Eight ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content).
- Five ounces of wine (12% alcohol content).
- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol content) distilled spirits or liquor (e.g., gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).
This is the most common form of excessive drinking and is defined as consuming
- In the case of women, 4 or more drinks on a single occasion.
- In the case of men, 5 or more drinks on a single occasion.
Is defined as consuming
- In the case of women, 8 or more drinks per week.
- In the case of men, 15 or more drinks per week
The Dietary Guidelines recommend for Americans that adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less per day for men or 1 drink or less per day for women for those days when alcohol is consumed. The Guidelines are also clear not to recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason and that if adults of legal drinking age choose to drink alcoholic beverages. Finally, drinking less is better for health than drinking more.
There is a group of people who are advised not to drink any alcohol; these are:
- People Younger than age 21 of age.
- Pregnant or may be pregnant.
- Driving, going to drive, or participating in other activities that require skill, coordination, and alertness.
- Consuming specific prescriptions or over-the-counter medications that can react with alcohol.
- Suffering from certain medical conditions.
- Recovering from alcoholism or are not able to control the amount they drink.
Popular Non-Alcoholic Beer Brands
Let us take a look at some of the most popular non-alcoholic Beer brands to consider:
ABV: Less than 0.5 percent
ABV: Less than 0.5 percent
Connecticut’s Athletic Brewing
ABV: Less than 0.5 percent
ABV: Less than 0.5 percent
ABV: 0.03 percent
Emerging Trends in Non-Alcoholic Brewing
The current brewery industry is affected by various trends. Let us take a look at some of the main ones:
- Some time ago, most beers, shots, or cocktails were considered to be staples of social gatherings. However, in recent years, non-alcoholic beverage trends have gained huge popularity.
- Surprisingly, the Younger Gen Z crowd is less interested in consuming alcohol as compared to the previous generations.
- However, there has also been a massive wellness movement that has taken place across the society. This includes more people from every age and stage you are trying to take better care of your health.
- The increasing growth of non-alcoholic beverages continues to trend throughout the US. This is reflected in the sales figures. It was found that between August 2021 and August 2022, the total dollar sales of non-alcoholic drinks in the US was about $395 million, displaying a year-on-year growth of +20.6%.
Crafting Your Non-Alcoholic Beer Experience
One of the simplest ways to complement the non-alcoholic beer you are drinking is to consider the most prominent flavor in the beer. This will most likely be the hops, and to be able to complement it along with your meal. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pasta: Sparkling water.
- Indian food: Ginger ale.
- Seafood: Lemonade.
- Steak: Unsweetened iced tea.
- Fried chicken: Sparkling white grape juice.
- BBQ: Sweet tea.
- Tacos: Agua fresca.
- Chocolate: Cranberry or pomegranate juice
Alternatives to Non-Alcoholic Beer
If you are still skeptical about consuming Non-Alcoholic beer and wish to avoid it altogether, you can still opt for a few alternatives:
- Hard seltzer
- Shandy: this is a mixture of beer and lemonade, ginger beer, or other fruit juice and is a great way to enjoy the taste of beer without the alcohol.
- A mixture of Sparkling water and tonic water with some orange squash or orange/pineapple.
- Kvass: this is a Russian drink prepared from fermented rye.
How Much Alcohol is in Non-Alcoholic Beer?: Conclusion
So, people, opting to be alcohol-free does not mean you have to up beer altogether. Also, these benefits clearly show that there are multiple reasons to go for non-alcoholic beer over sugary soft drinks in case you are trying to avoid alcohol.
Also, all types of beer might have many positive health benefits; however, with alcohol-free beer, you can enjoy these along with a clear head in the morning! So, what are your thoughts about the non-alcoholic beer? Share it with us, and we would love to hear from you.
How Much Alcohol is in Non-Alcoholic Beer?: FAQ's
Question 1. Is non-alcoholic beer better for you?
Answer: Yes, it is better for you.
Question 2. Is non-alcoholic beer okay for alcoholics?
Answer: Yes, it is recommended when you are trying to kick off the habit.
Question 3. Is non-alcoholic beer 0%?
Answer: No, it is a myth.
Question 4. Is non-alcoholic beer 100% alcohol-free?
Answer: No, it is not.
Question 5. Is 1 percent alcohol non-alcoholic?
Answer: No, it is not.
Question 5. Can kids drink non-alcoholic beer?
Answer: This is not adviseable.
Question 7. Why do people drink non-alcoholic beer?
Answer: It could be because of Religious or health reasons.