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Beer is good. Beer is tasty. A frosty brew is a natural accompaniment to most occasions. But beer, of course, comes with certain side effects including, but not limited to: an inability to operate motor vehicles, saying stupid things and waking with a headache. So why not drink a beer without that meddlesome alcohol?
Beer with little to no alcohol is centuries old. Drinking fermented beverages was an excellent alternative to untreated water that contained bacteria. Beer was a health drink. Our ancestors brewed "small beer" with minuscule amounts of alcohol to prevent perpetual inebriation.
During Prohibition, drinks with more than .5 percent alcohol were illegal. Brewers turned to making "near beer" to stay in business.
Today low and non-alcoholic beer is produced much like regular beer but with one additional step. After brewing and fermenting the wort, brewers can heat the beer to evaporate most of the alcohol. Applying a vacuum speeds this process and requires less heat, preserving more of the natural beer flavor. The water that is lost in this process is then replaced.
Reverse osmosis is another method to remove alcohol from beer. The product passes through a filter, separating the alcohol and water from the rest of the beer. The result is a thick mixture of sugars and flavors. Water is then added back to the mixture. Non-alcoholic beer is usually not fully devoid of alcohol. Many still contain .5 percent.