The best non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits

Anyone remember Kalibur? For years, this was the only traditional low-alcohol beer available. It was and remains an awful liquid, but it looked like a beer and you could feed it in a bar without wondering why you’re not drinking.

Fortunately, attitudes towards sobriety and moderation are improving, and just as the market for high-grade craft beer has grown – as Special Brew seems low these days in comparison – the availability of drinks. Low percentage alternatives has never been greater. There are now breweries like the superb Big fall and distilleries such as Lyres which only produce non-alcoholic drinks.

And it’s easy to see why, especially since the IWSR predicts that the No and Low market will grow by 34% by 2024, with the ripple effect of a drop in overall UK alcohol consumption by volume of 10% over the coming year.

Unfortunately, alcohol gives drinks a deeper, arguably more satisfying flavor, especially at the craft end of the beer spectrum. If you’re looking to mix low / zero drinks with regular alcoholic versions, prepare to notice the difference – and not necessarily for the best. But in our experience, if you stick to low-alcohol drinks all night long, or if you just start the evening on them before moving on to the harder things, you can be richly rewarded.

In a blind taste test, we couldn’t tell the difference between a 3.8% lager and a 0.3% lager, while the 0.0% Guinness fooled many. tasters (although not regular black stuff drinkers).

But it’s not just beers, we’ve also tested the latest low and alcohol-free spirits, ciders and sparkling wines. From 2017 to 2019, UK non-alcoholic spirits volume sales increased 169.7%, although it should be remembered that this is only 0.3% of total sales of spirits. But he’s growing up.

Unfortunately, no one has yet managed to distill a passable 0.0% single malt, but what the non-alcoholic spirits industry does quite well is create some interesting ingredients and flavors for cocktails. None of the alcohol-free spirits we’ve tried go for real, but they can add an extra dimension to a cocktail. We like the prospect of halving the alcohol content of a cocktail by incorporating low-alcohol ingredients. Prosecco with alcohol Aperol (style) without alcohol is a great drink, not too potent, on a sunny day.


Low or not?

In the UK, drinks at 0.5% ABV and below are not restricted by alcohol licenses, meaning that anyone can buy and sell them, and despite having a small amount of alcohol, there is would be impossible to get drunk on a 0.5% drink. Ripe bananas are actually 0.4% alcohol content, which gives you an idea of ​​how little alcohol we are talking about.


Lucky Saint 0.5%

The best non-alcoholic blonde beer (and the best in the test)

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