Beavertown launches first ‘alcohol-free’ beer

North London brewer Beavertown has launched its first ever ‘alcohol-free’ beer amid soaring sales of low ABV drinks during lockdown.

Called Lazer Crush, it is described by the brewery as a “bullish and hoppy” India Pale Ale with 0.3% ABV and containing 83 calories per 330ml can.

The beer has been launched after sales of non-alcoholic drinks continued to rise this year during the UK’s coronavirus lockdown.

In the week to 9 May, sales of non-alcoholic beer in the US were up 44% compared to the same period last year, on top of the categories steady growth over the past five years. Non-alcoholic beer has had “one of its strongest” weeks since lockdown in terms of sales, according to market analyst Nielsen.

Beavertown’s launch also comes shortly after the release of a lighter ABV beer called Nanobot earlier this year, which had an alcohol by volume level of 2.8%.

While the brewer describes this new launch as an alcohol-free beer, there is some confusion around the labelling of low ABV and non-alcoholic drinks in the UK. Under current guidelines, producers can only label a product as “low alcohol” if it has an ABV below 1.2%. Alcohol-free products must be 0.05% ABV or lower, and anything with an ABV of 0.5% should be called “de-alcoholised” if the alcohol has been removed. This is not the case in the EU, where drinks can be labelled alcohol-free if they have an ABV of 0.5% and below

However, drinks producers and industry leaders said the current labelling rules are confusing for consumers, and have called for changes to the guidelines.

Beavertown, which is partially owned by Dutch brewing giant Heineken, is hoping to capitalise on the surge in interest in lighter, low calorie drinks. The London beer maker launched a new upscaled brewery called Beaverworld in August, which founder Logan Plant has said will allow it to increase production tenfold.

Plant said the new beer is another mark of the company’s “progress and growth” over the past year.

“Our dream is to have a Beavertown beer on every street corner and in order to do this we wanted to make sure our creations provide drinkers with the tastiest choice of beer for them and this includes non-alcoholic options. After all, whether a pint is alcoholic or not, it’s still a fundamental part of coming together with friends.”

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