Drinking alcohol-free beer to avoid the hangover is so last decade!

Did you know that drinking booze-free beer has handfuls of health benefits?

The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games was a booze fest for the German Olympic Team. Between sporting events, they would guzzle down beer, which breweries like Krombuchar and Erdinger happily (and legally) delivered to them – that’s thousands of litres of the good stuff! Fortunately for those Olympians, all that beer was non-alcoholic. And it really was good stuff.

Even today, alcohol-free beer is more than just alcohol-free. It can contain a multitude of healthy vitamins and minerals, all depending on the ingredients added. Alcohol-free beer also has the ability to function as a fitness-boasting alternative to sports drinks, depending on how it’s produced.

To uncover this interesting trend, we spoke with Irene Falcone, Founder of Australia’s leading alcohol-free beverage supplier Sans Drinks. According to Irene, alcohol-free beer is healthier than you think.

“We stock a wonderful range of beers that are extremely low calorie and fortified with vitamins, like our Erdinger Wheat Beer which contains vitamin B12, folic acid and polyphenols,” says Irene.

“The developments in this space have hugely redefined how beers are perceived in terms of being closer to a sports drink than something you drink at the pub. The German Olympians are right into it!”

Indeed, Germans aren’t the only ones taking on the new trend. Many breweries around the world are aiming to develop their own style of fitness-boasting alcohol-free beer.

“So, similar beers in Australia — for example, Upflow Beer and ZERO+ Sports Pale Ale – are the Australian version of that Erdinger beer. They’ve got hypertonic properties which aid in faster recovery and hydration after exercise.”

And then, if we look at another brand like SOBAH, an Aboriginal-led brewery in Queensland, they contain bush tucker. So things like finger lime, lemon aspen and pepper berry. Now all these ingredients are rich in Vitamin C. And finger lime is rich in folate, potassium and Vitamin C and E. So look at all the extra vitamins you’re getting in that.”

To get technical, an Austrian study shows alcohol-free beers that are yeast-clouded (hazy) are the closest alternative to sports drinks.

Going Alcohol-free Is Easier Than You Think

With ongoing product innovations in the low alcohol and non-alcoholic beer category, Irene believes it’s now easier than ever to make the shift without compromising on anything – even taste. Except, of course, getting drunk and unwanted hangovers.

“In terms of taste, body and mouthfeel, alcohol-free versions are so similar to the ones with alcohol that it’s a no-brainer to make the change,” Irene says.

In fact, the change is so easy that at least one of Irene’s customers didn’t realise they did it:

“I’ve got a bottle shop – a non-alcoholic bottle shop – and I had these young men come in acting drunk, not realising that I’m a non-alcoholic bottle shop,” Irene says. “And, I kid you not, they picked up a can of Heaps Normal beer and said, ‘this is what I’ve been drinking all afternoon at the pub.’ And I said, ‘you know that’s non-alcoholic, mate?’ and he went ‘what?’ He didn’t know he was acting drunk.”

Of course, for many of us, the idea of going alcohol-free feels like sabotaging friendships and all those glorious nights out. Indeed, one of the greatest benefits of drinking is all the socialising it creates. But, with alcohol-free beer tasting and looking like full-strength beer, it’s easy to get away with it without letting your friends know. It doesn’t even have to be a permanent change according to Irene.

With Sans Drinks, pretty much all her customers drink alcohol and regularly drink non-alcoholic beer to curb their intake.

“Sometimes they swap out (in a night) – so they’ll start with alcoholic beer and then they’ll switch,” Irene says. “Or they’ll simply just swap out a day altogether—they had a big night on Saturday night and on the following Sunday afternoon they’ll go non-alcoholic.

“So it’s all about drinking them in tangent so as to reduce their total alcohol consumption – whether that be for a month, a year, or just a day.”

This, according to Irene, is mostly because they wish to avoid the nasty hangover. But now, thanks to the ongoing innovations in non-alcoholic brewing, avoiding the hangover is a small benefit compared to all the good stuff in alcohol-free beer. Just ask the Germans!

As for Irene, her goal as an alcohol-free liquor supplier at Sans Drinks is to “make it possible for everyone to get together without relying on alcohol as a social lubricant.”

“We stock over 60 different types of non-alcoholic beer and it’s growing every day. There are exciting flavours on offer and my personal passion for all-natural ingredients means that whatever it is you drink there’s a healthy no-alcohol version out there for you.”

Needing some booze-free beer recommendations? Our list to the 10 Best Low Alcohol and Non-Alcoholic Australians Beers for 2021 will have you covered. Love beer? Test your knowledge and beat our quiz master in this 10 question beer quiz!

Feature image: Photographed by Roman Samborskyi. Image via Shutterstock.