How much alcohol in non-alcoholic beer?
It was a conversation on a google chat with a colleague in the states, and she asked me why I did not drink alcohol. We had a conversation that started with how much alcohol in non-alcoholic beer?
It seems the states are very different to the UK but then it is in so many countries.
It appears that some non-alcoholic beer does have alcohol in them. I knew that from the blog, but of course, not everyone does.
She looked bemused on the call, so we started to work out.
Some so-called non-alcoholic beers have alcohol in them.
But so does a banana!
It seems going alcohol-free is more complicated than we first might imagine!
Although the UK is better for choice. Brands like Bavaria and San Miguel.
Even the Indian restaurant near me does Cobra Zero.
It’s a bit like giving up wheat; when you start to look more closely, it is in absolutely everything. Well almost!
Why Not Just Drink Alcohol?
To be clear, I can’t do alcohol because of a health issue, but I like the social side, and it also comes with its fair share of the judgment.
I was a prominent social wine drinker but never really ever got drunk. Now I see people around me drinking more than I ever did, but we are all different.
You can never tell how we may react to alcohol.
I don’t miss the taste, but I miss having a choice of beer, gin or wine and alcohol-free is solely giving me that.
Although my conversation with my American colleague meant that I had to admit that alcohol does seem to be everywhere, it is like wheat.
But I keep to my 0.0% approach and choose to accept that there may be a trace in my banana and my burger roll!
What is this stuff about anything 0.5 is alcohol-free when it isn’t?
She asked politely.
In some countries, it seems it isn’t even when it says it is, so its buyers should aware from the start.
Just give up alcohol altogether, then!
But I said in my discussion with her no medical expert has ever told me not to have a banana or orange juice. I was in an activity encouraged to eat them in the hospital.
So I pride myself on my totally zero beers. Not 0.5 but zero!
My colleague looked at me oddly on the zoom call and said, but it’s OK to admit you had a problem.
If I was guilty of pushing the 14 units recommended in the UK to keep us healthy, I was certainly up there with the best of them.
Although last time I checked, not everyone who drinks alcohol-free is saying they were an alcoholic.
In fact, anything that labels a person can be very unhelpful, and I know this from my therapy and coaching work. Always deal with the behaviour, not who the person is! The two are very different!
It seems to be a label kept for those on park benches!
So I loved my wine, beer and gin on holiday but I have not missed it since and why would I? It could kill me.
But socially, I like to have options. Otherwise, I would be seated in the corner having a cola, as one therapist told me to do
And I was not even in therapy. We did not get on clearly.
So why should not the market cater for people like me?
It seems that people are spending on alcohol every year because it’s the new niche in town.
Although it does seem swamped by beer experts. I am certainly not one of those.
My criteria: does the beer taste nice, and will it kill me?
So what is a non-alcoholic-beer then?
Well, it’s a beer without alcohol, right.
Not so fast!
Here in the UK, it’s pretty straightforward. We have some great websites like drink aware that map out the details of so-called ABV – alcohol by volume, and it’s beneficial.
Labels are everything in my world.
Although I have been told by many that because I gave up drinking, the alcohol-free beer could send me into some alcohol return.
I think they mean I will throw myself in a vat of alcohol or something.
The truth is everyone is different, and for some people, it could be a trigger, and for some, it is not. It depends on it’s a true addiction or not or just a habit.
I know plenty of people addicted to all sorts of things, including chocolate!
Many NHS trust literature in the UK says to stay away as it might send you back to alcohol. Or it might get spiked.
I have had worse things that I have had to stop going into my drinks over the years, so I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to spiking.
Although they do have a point on the alcohol concentration front.
In the UK, you can make the following choices providing the labelling is clear.
Low alcohol -Alcohol by volume (abv) above 0.5% but not more than 1.2%.
De-alcoholised -A drink with alcohol extracted and has an abv of not more than 0.5%.
Alcohol-free – Not more than 0.05% abv
Effectively the alcohol-free may have a trace like many foods. So I am sticking with 0.0% and nothing above.
But and this is big but if you think any of those could be a trigger for you, stay away.
You do not want to embark on something that may cost you your life?
However, if it is not a trigger and, like many people who read this blog, want to cut back, then the non-alcoholic beer can be a fantastic option.
Many people with drink issues cite it as helping them come off alcohol, and they are telling all those stories here at the blog!
What kept me away from many options is that beer may have some alcohol in them, so I have had to do my research big time!
It’s important around the world to know this; non-alcoholic beers aren’t alcohol-free everywhere.
Yes, you won’t get drunk on them, and there is more alcohol in some orange juices, but they are still not alcohol-free.
But if I left fruit out in the sun and ate it, that would not be alcohol-free either.
In the States, it’s different.
A colleague made the point that anything less than 0.5% in the US, so alcohol by volume, is deemed non-alcoholic.
Again to put this in perspective, most beer is 5 per cent and upwards, but that’s not the point.
Now for some people, any amount of alcohol at that level is not allowed. Sometimes it’s health or maybe just the principle.
For me, it’s health, so not negotiable.
I have not touched any alcohol for two years. And I have no desire to do so at all!
But I have a choice that’s a different matter.
Some so-called recovering alcoholics are OK to drink at low levels, and they are fine. Everyone is different. But some are not, so always get advice and help if you need it.
For health reasons, in the UK, if I did not have good alcohol free choice, it would be diet drinks. That would be a shame.
There is mental health mileage in socializing with others, just not while drinking alcohol.
Zero Alcohol Beer is growing!
By the week, it seems.
The 0.0% abv brands are growing in taste and brand look, and it’s fascinating.
The big brand’s names but also the craft new brewers as well.
Heineken, Bavaria, Cobra Zero, Peroni Zero, San Miguel, Budweiser and even local supermarket own brands are now producing 0.0 alcohol-free beer.
Yes, there is a chance they might have a trace, but no more so than food and production have come so far; I am not sure they would want to kill their brand off really by getting wrong.
But I get to drink alcohol-free beer and not feel “the oddity” in the corner.
University research is showing that given a choice, people will often opt for good alcohol-free drinks.
There is one caveat, though!
They have to taste good, no ifs and no buts. And I think they had learned the lesson from years ago when it tasted so awful!
I am happy not drinking, and I know others look over either with suspicion or envy; I can never quite work it out.
I know I need to be sober, and I’m proud of my non-drinking.
But no one likes feeling like the odd one out in a group.
Changes are afoot on the Alcohol-Free Revolution.
From wines to sparkling wine to so-called alcohol-free gin. The choice is awe-inspiring.
I am a massive fan of alcohol-free gin with low-calorie tonic, which is excellent for a diet. Please read my review of alcohol-free gin here.
Remember, though, non-alcohol drinks or alcohol-free drinks are not diet drinks except gin and low.
This is low-calorie tonic water topped up by Gordon’s Alcohol-Free Gin.
Mocktails are certainly not suitable for a calorie-controlled diet as they contain a lot of sugar.
You might be better off sticking with non-alcoholic beer. I’m serious!
What do you think?
I would love to know your views.
Important to remember that whatever your reasons for choosing to cut back on alcohol or give up, we are responsible and have to make decisions for ourselves and our health.
But caution remains, and always check with a medical professional.
Even non-alcoholic beer has a role to play in terms of options and choice.
I’ll stick with totally alcohol-free if that is OK with you!
What is your view of how much alcohol in non-alcoholic beer? I would love to know. Leave your comment below, and I always get back to you.
No matter what’s in your glass, know that you’re the one in charge of your recovery — and whether alcohol-free beers are a part of yours is entirely up to you. Of course, you might just be bored with a hangover!
Regardless it’s important to know how much alcohol in non-alcoholic beer regardless of where you live.