Belgium to brew first non-alcoholic Abbey beer

A Belgian brewery is to make the country’s first non-alcoholic ‘Abbey’ beer, eschewing centuries of tradition as demand for healthy living alternatives to the high alcohol style grows.

Similar to Belgian Trappist ales in style, Abbey beers are brewed either by monks or on licence from them, but do not require that a portion of their proceeds go to charity.

As reported by The Telegraph, from this month AB InBev, the world’s largest brewing company, will begin selling a zero alcohol version of its Leffe beer in Belgium.

Normally Leffe carries an ABV of 6.6%. However the brewer has developed a de-alcoholisation technique that allows the beers to go through the usual brewing process, gaining its trademark fruity bitter taste with notes of smoke and cloves, with the alcohol removed after the fermentation process.

“We are proud to have been the first to succeed, thanks to the expertise of our brewers, to produce a non-alcoholic beer that is completely faithful to the quality and authenticity of the beer of Leffe abbey,” said Arnaud Hanset, of AB InBev.

Leffe was originally brewed by monks at the Leffe Abbey in the province of Namur, in the French-speaking region of Wallonia.

It’s now brewed at AB InBev’s headquarters in the Flemish university town of Leuven, as either a Brown or Blond brew.

Its launch is in response to a growing trend for non-alcoholic alternatives, with AB InBev earlier this year announcing the creation of a new chief of non-alcoholic beverages officer. 

Focusing on AB InBev’s fast-growing low and no-alcohol brands, which represent around 10% of AB InBev’s total business, Lucas Herscovici, will drive the company’s expansion in this category. 

Ab InBev has predicted that 20% of the world’s beer production volume will be non-alcoholic or low alcoholic by 2025.

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