Husband and wife duo Tammer Zein-El-Abedein and Donna Hockey launched Surreal in June 2018 for the same reason so many others have entered the alcohol alternative industry. They no longer drink alcohol, and wanted to create better options for those who abstain from drinking.
Surreal exhibited at the Specialty Food Association’s Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this week, sampling all five beers that contain less than 0.5% ABV.
Hockey told BeverageDaily that they decided, “Let’s get in there, and let’s try to create something that we really would love to have and we know other people want as well.”
Nine months of development led to the launch of the brand’s flagship Chandelier Red IPA. They have grown ‘exponentially’ in the time since, and their mission is to “reduce the stigma traditionally associated with NA Beer so more people can enjoy beer.”
Low-cal, health-forward beer
The new Pastry Porter beer is the first in Surreal’s dessert line, according to Donna. It joins the portfolio--Chandelier Red IPA, Juicy Mavs Hazy IPA, Natural Bridges Kolsch Style and 17 Mile Porter.
Each beer is low in calories, low in carbs, with 0g of sugar. A typical non-alcoholic beer is between 75-120 calories, while the Surreal range is between 17-75 calories per 12oz can. The Red IPA and the Kolsch Style are also gluten-reduced.
“We use all-natural ingredients, non-GMO grains, and a wholesome brewing process that allows the yeast to create marvelous esters and phenols, minerals, B vitamins, flavors and aromas,” Surreal said.
“We wouldn’t have it any other way. Beer is freshest when it is kept cool so we never heat our finished product.”
Hockey said they are a health-forward brand and consider the beers a ‘fitness line’ of beverages for those looking for something to celebrate with, drink with friends and take along on adventures.
“We encourage people to get outside, so our packaging highlights a lot of northern California destinations,” Hockey said.
Beneficial competition for growth
Their audience is made up of those that are health-conscious, the craft beer lovers who like the beer taste but don’t always want the alcohol, and younger, curious drinkers.
“There’s young people who have kind of grown up learning that alcohol is not quite good for you, but they still want to go out and have fun,” Hockey said.
The non-alcoholic beer market is being led by independent craft brands, such as Partake Brewing and Two Roots Brewing who both sell different IPA and lager varieties. But it’s also getting help from launches at larger companies like Heineken 0.0, with single, more mainstream options.
Hockey thinks the category only benefits from all the launches and competition, attracting new customers to non-alcoholic beer and allowing them to discover the specialized, craft brands.
Surreal will continue launching new beer styles in 2020 beyond the Pastry Porter. The range can be purchased on the Surreal website, nationwide at Total Wine & More, in California at BevMo! and in southern California at Whole Foods and specialty stores.