Partake Brewing on non-alcoholic craft beer: ‘It’s time for the two fastest growing segments of the beer market to converge’

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Partake Brewing non-alcoholic craft beer kickstarter launch
Consumer interest in non-alcoholic beer is growing while craft beer maintains its popularity, and so Partake Brewing believes the time is right to launch its non-alcoholic craft beer. It has already exceeded its fundraising target on Kickstarter after launching last week. 

Partake Brewing’s mission is to craft and brew non-alcoholic beers in a variety of styles, starting with a non-alcoholic IPA. It will serve its home market of Canada as well as the US.

‘Unfortunately the stigma surrounding non-alcoholic beer is well-deserved’

Founder Ted Fleming was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and decided to give up alcohol five years ago, but found beer was hard to replace.

“I missed my beer,”​ he said. “I enjoyed the taste of beer and discovering new beers - especially new craft beers. But more than that, I found that I missed the camaraderie of sharing a drink with a colleague after a hard day’s work, cracking a beer with the guys after hockey, and joining in to celebrate special occasions with family and friends.

“The problem is most of the non-alcoholic beers currently being made are terrible and there is really almost nothing in terms of variety. Unfortunately the long-standing stigma surrounding non-alcoholic beer is well deserved.”

In 2013 he founded an online non-alcoholic beer store, PremiumNearBeer.com, and has been curating the best products from around the world. He is now using that feedback to design his own beer.

“It has taken several iterations of the recipe to find the right balance of flavors,” ​he explained. 

Tasting notes

'Made with citrusy bold, fruity Cascade, Amarillo and Citra hops, this IPA pours a brilliant gold with a bouquet of sweet florals, grapefruit and honey on a light, effervescent body with a lingering grapefruit pith bitterness after the swallow.'  

“I was lucky to have the feedback from Premium Near Beer customers on a wide variety of products to help guide the product development process and narrow in on a taste profile.

“The biggest challenge was developing a recipe and process that could be made at a low enough cost on a small batch craft scale. This was overcome with a lot of research, talking to experts, and experimentation.”

Who drinks non-alcoholic beer?

Fleming quotes figures from The Economist which reveal that the world-wide non-alcoholic beer market has surged by more than 80% in the last five years. Consumers include professional athletes, expectant mothers, and those who abstain for religious reasons.

“Add to that people like me who have medical conditions and people looking for healthier food choices and you can start to see the wider appeal of non-alcoholic beer,”​ he said.

AB InBev recently launched a non-alcoholic version of their flagship product Budweiser and has pledged that 20% of global sales will come from low or no-alcohol products by 2025.

Meanwhile, craft beer sales continue to grow.

“It's time for the two fastest growing segments of the beer market to converge with a craft non-alcoholic beer,” ​said Fleming.

“My goal is to make non-alcoholic beers that can be enjoyed seamlessly next to their alcoholic counterparts.

“Speaking from a North American perspective, Europe is way ahead in terms of quality, variety and consumer knowledge of non-alcoholic beers. An IPA was the starting point for me, because it is synonymous with craft beer in North America and yet still appeals to a niche within the non-alcoholic beer community.”

Related topics: Beverage Entrepreneurs, Markets, Craft, Beer

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