It was Summers Day in London after my exit from hospital and the aim was to see how got on out an about. As per usual people headed for the pub and you know the score, not many drinking alcohol free alternatives. They did however have something called Old Jamaica Ginger Beer Light which was hidden to the back of the drinks menu in this back street pub.
I remember as a kid when ginger beer was something you put in to a spirit as in “whiskey and ginger”. I think from recollection it was the drink my Dad gave my Grandmother as a nod to say time to go home now or maybe I am imagined it. ( I don’t think I was though !) For me however it could be the only 0.0% abv to enjoy when it comes to the limited options in many of the bars’ restaurant or pubs especially in the UK.
I have recently had the pleasure of checking out old Jamaica beer light in pubs and restaurant and it’s a fab option when there is limited choice on the menu.
What is the difference?
Although it’s very confusing it does date back in history it seems leading back to the 17th century when it was fermented and therefore alcohol to some degree. Some would argue it was born in Yorkshire UK especially if you are from Yorkshire but the verdict is out for some people.
Ginger Ale is generally a mixer ( anyone who remembers Canada Dry) or more of a carbonated drink whereas as the ginger beer are alcoholic whereas some just are not all. It does take me back to the golden years growing up and then it slipped away only to become a real trend drink again.
However, do remember to check the 0.0 abv ( that’s alcohol by volume ) if you do not want or can’t like me have any alcohol in a drink. Having said that early drink with ginger goes back further than that because of it supposed medicinal properties especially for the stomach.
The Trend of Ginger Beer
|From Crabbies to Fentimans Ginger beer is now everywhere and that’s great. I did hear a few people say it because its healthy as the ginger is good for the stomach so they believed it. I think I’ll leave that one there for now.
When you walk in a bar and there are no non-alcoholic drink options it really is great alternative. The reason being is it does has a kick especially in some of them including old Jamaica ginger beer light which is sugar free and zero alcohol. It is served in one of my favorite restaurants with an ice and a slice although they shove it down with the tin besides. Oh well.
The brands are limited but I know they are out there with many online retailers selling them. For example :
- Spindrift Ginger Beer
- Bundaberg Ginger Beer.
- Barritts Bermuda Stone Ginger Beer
- Gosling’s Ginger Beer
- Goya Jamaican-Style Ginger Beer
- Parker’s Ginger Beer.
- Fentimans Ginger Beer.
Each one has the won appeal and target markets from a hipster to an office worker. The one thing I don’t think they have done yet is market itself as an alternative in the alcohol free options world. In a supermarket it’s slight unusually placed and not where you think
In a supermarket it’s not where you think
If you are walking down the supermarket aisle looking for ginger beer on this particular this brand so old Jamaica ginger beer light it’s not on the soft drinks’ aisle and neither on the drink aisle. To add to the confusion it’s not near the alcoholic beverages which the non-alcohol beer is and yet you have to prove your age to buy it. ( Well me not so much nowadays).
I have tried this out in a few UK supermarkets and it’s true in both of them. The reason is that it’s got Jamaica in the title so its classed as a world food which is often near the pasta but before you get to the cereals. Too much detail ? It is frustrating as the weeks went by when I was looking for it only to think that it was not available in supermarkets.
It is also presented as individual cans not in packs again like non-alcoholic beer and my nice new pack of Bavaria 0.0% that arrived in the post this week. So again for the consumer looking for 0.0% alcoholic drink options it just makes it that less easy for the consumer and of course they lose money as a result.
What about an aisle dedicated to alcoholic free drinks’ ?
It will never catch on but why not. There are already sections for wheat free and veggie alternatives so why not alcohol free where the consumer is offered more choice that is both healthy and also profit driving for the stores. It’s a bit like the pub analogy where you actually have to ask for it whereas if they were really pushing it they would make it a unique selling point.
Old Jamaica ginger beer light is in my view a fantastic alterntive in that it is low in calories and its got that kick that comes with great ginger beer. Do not get it confused with ginger ale as it is definately not and double check if they give you an alternative the 0.0% ABV at the back to avoid drinking alcohol by mistake.
If your in a rather nice restuarant and its one of their alternatives don’t let them get away with just sticking a can on the table! Ask for a nice glass with ice and a slice like everyone else is getting around the table with their alcohol choices. If you are shopping for it in a supermarket or shopping mall look in “world foods” and if you see the store manager suggest a section on non-alcoholic choice as we have to start somewhere.
I did ask to see the manager once and the lovely assistant on the customer service desk phoned him and I could hear him say ” tell him I’m in a meeting !” so I said ” I can hear you!” Happy zero alcoholic option hunting, You are not alone !