Solutions for the Future of Low Alcohol Beer
Oct 8, 2020
It has been apparent for some time that sales of low and no alcohol beer are rapidly increasing in popularity. Forecasts by Technavio suggest a global combined annual growth rate of 8.8% between 2019 and 2024, with key growth regions in South America and Asia Pacific. Driven by a new generation of health-conscious consumers these beers are becoming lifestyle products with large producers sponsoring high profile sporting events. Heineken Zero has just replaced Amstel as the official sponsor of the UEFA Europa League, while Erdinger Alkoholfrei sponsors a whole segment of endurance sports, and is marketed as an isotonic sports drink as well as a beer. Craft beer producers are not immune to the trend with high profile Scottish craft brewer Brewdog now producing three distinct low alcohol brands.
Production methods for producing low or no alcohol beer can be split into two categories. The first relies on technology to remove alcohol from a conventionally produced beer and includes membrane-based techniques such as reverse osmosis, as well as strategies based around low temperature evaporation. The second category focusses on making use of novel or existing microorganisms in conjunction with arrested fermentation or procedures to produce wort of limited fermentability. These produce a naturally lower alcohol content in the resulting beer without the need for costly new equipment.
Lallemand is actively pursuing research into methods based around this second category. We recently published a best practice document for producing limited fermentability wort using the high temperature mashing technique. The resulting wort can be fermented with maltotriose negative yeast strains from within our collection such as LalBrew Windsor™ and LalBrew London™ to produce beers with a final alcohol content of between 0.5 and 1.5%
Research continues into producing a yeast strain that can produce alcohol contents lower than 0.5% abv while also reducing the flavour criticisms which are often levelled at the low and no alcohol beer segment