By Tunde Osho
Guinness Ireland has unveiled its first non-alcoholic lager beer as it looks to tap into a growing consumer trend of declining alcohol consumption or no alcohol consumption.
The new creation which is called ‘Pure Brew’ was developed at Diageo’s Open Gate experimental brewery at St. Jame’s Gate in Dublin. According to Guinness, the beer will be unveiled to 250 pubs in the Irish capital this January and to the rest of the country from March.
Brewers typically have had a difficult time making non-alcoholic beers without losing their original taste and character because of the way they are made. Beer makers usually start the process with full-strength beers, with alcohol content gradually removed through evaporation, a process that alters the flavor and character of the beer.
According to Guinness Ireland, Pure Brew, which took two years of experimentation to make was developed using a special yeast strain so that it is a fully fermented beer. The outcome is a hoppy lager with fruity aromas and a bit of citrus flavor.
Lead brewer, John Casey said, “Consumers shouldn’t have to compromise on flavour just because they want to moderate. With Pure Brew, we wanted to give people a taste experience comparable to regular beer”.
Alcohol consumption in Ireland has fallen 25% since 2005, according to the country’s Alcohol Beverage Foundation of Ireland. It adds that the trend is particularly noticeable among young people where drinking levels have plummeted in recent years.
Diageo’s global head of beer, Mark Sandys said it has taken Guinness a long time to scale production of non-alcoholic lager but said the company was pleased with the result.
“The greatest challenge for a brewer is to produce a great-tasting beer that doesn’t have any alcohol because most of the non-alcoholic beers on the market are a compromise in terms of taste because of the way they are made. We’ve gone about things differently and the result is a great-tasting lager that stands shoulder to shoulder with our other beers”.
Mr. Sandy’s did not rule out more non-alcoholic or low alcoholic beers in the future.
“We see this as a consumer trend that is going to grow and grow, so we are focused on continuing to experiment at Open Gate,” he said.
In 2015, Diageo launched Guinness Zero in Indonesia, a non-alcoholic stout variant of its famous brand as the conservative government in that country set new restrictions on alcohol sale.