After a party-filled holiday season and a particularly brutal New Year's Day morning, you might be thinking about going light on the alcohol in the new year. If you're attempting a Dry January or considering making healthier choices all 2019-long, Heineken is here with a zero ABV spin on your favorite lager to make things a little easier. Heineken 0.0 is a new alcohol-free beer with the same refreshing taste you know and love from the original, so here's to a dryer (and hopefully hangover-free) year ahead.
On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the Dutch brewery revealed that it was ringing in the new year by gifting American customers with a brew that promises to sacrifice none of the flavor while helping you give your body an alcohol-free breather. According to the press release, Heineken's brew masters crafted the beverage using all natural ingredients with "a unique recipe for a distinct, balanced taste" amid an increased market for alcohol-free sips around the world. Heineken 0.0. is currently available in more than 30 markets globally, and it can now be purchased in the United States in both cans and bottles.
Per the press release, the product was created with "holistic wellbeing and mindful drinking" in mind, which has reportedly been at the forefront of consumer drinking trends in 2019, per Food & Wine. That's definitely something I can get on board with, and TBH, I've often wondered why many other breweries haven't jumped on the bandwagon. Is making alcohol-free beer as hard as it seems? I did some digging, and according to Food & Wine, booze-less beer has a reputation for tasting terrible because the alcohol is often removed in a second cooking process after the conventional beer is brewed. Dry January or not, no one wants to drink a bad-tasting beer, which is why Heineken decided to create the Heineken 0.0 from scratch.
"Removing alcohol from regular 5% Heineken would have been easy, but it wouldn't deliver the same premium beer taste that Heineken is known for," Willem van Waesberghe, Global Craft and Brew Master at Heineken, said in the press release of the "most challenging brewing process of his career.
He continued, "Heineken 0.0 is brewed from scratch and has a perfectly balanced taste with refreshing fruity notes and soft, malty finish."
Competitors like Peroni, Guinness, and Budweiser have also jumped on board the zero ABV trend, and while the non-alcoholic beer market is pretty small stateside, breweries are looking to tap into the approximately 30 percent of Americans who don't consume alcohol.
"For the U.S., the time has come for an innovation that disrupts the category and offers a new take on how and when people enjoy beer," Jonnie Cahill, Chief Marketing Officer of Heineken USA, said in the press release. "Heineken 0.0 brings an incredible beer taste to the non-alcoholic space and opens a world of opportunity for people to come together and enjoy a brew that expands drinking occasions—not limits them."
Today's consumers are definitely more conscious of their well-being and making healthy choices, and the company is banking on that making Heineken 0.0 a winning formula. "It’s not just about 2019, but the future of the beer category," Katharine Preville, the lead brand manager for Heineken 0.0, explained in an interview with Brewbound.
So, will non-alcoholic beer account for as much as five percent of Heineken's U.S. sales by 2023, as the company believes? That remains to be seen, but I'm all about raising a glass to a hangover-free 2019.