This is a big one isn’t it. They don’t come any bigger than Budweiser. Everyone has played their hand in the alcohol free or non alcoholic market but the big boys have been largely hit or miss in my opinion.
How will Budweiser Zero taste vs Budweiser itself? Will it be a let down or a triumph. Read on to find out.
If you want to buy some best value Budweiser Zero via Amazon then follow this link to the page.
Bud is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. To say they dominate the beer world is an understatement. They generated $52billion in 2019 and commanded a 30% global market share.
AB InBev founder, Adolphus Busch, emigrated from Germany to USA in 1857. He fought for the Union during the Civil War then joined his father-in-law’s business.
In 1879, the company’s name was officially changed to Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association. Adolphus took over when his father in law died the next year.
Before Budweiser was introduced, many Americans were drinking heavy, dark ales. But St. Louis summers were hot – perfect for a palatable, crisp lager.
Budweiser’s drinkability was a success. It quickly became extremely popular not just in St. Louis, but in America. The rest is history as they say.
Why launch an alcohol free beer?
Why do Budweiser or AB InBev need to launch an alcohol free beer at all? They are swimming in cash from their current business?
The answer is they aren’t stupid and the global alcohol free or non alcoholic beer market will be $35.6 billion by 2030.
I know only too well the many reasons people are turning to alcohol free beer, i’ve written an article on 12 of them here.
The market for non alcoholic and alcohol free beer is compounding at an annual growth rate of 8.1%. If you have a big beer business you need to be getting into the non alcoholic market too.
This correlates with the percentage of the population and especially young adults who are now not drinking alcohol. Covid has accelerated the move to a more health conscious lifestyle.
A key bonus is there is no way you can get drunk on 0.0 beers, i’ve crunched all the numbers and its just not possible.
All in all means there is a lot of money to be made in the alcohol free market and Heineken are cashing in with a huge global marketing campaign.
What type of beer is Budweiser?
Budweiser is an American style lager. It is brewed with the best barley malt and a blend of premium hop varieties.
Full disclosure here – i’ve never been a big fan of it. Ive found it not quite “lagery” enough if you want a clean crisp taste and it’s not so hoppy as an IPA.
Even a classic pilsner is like a hoppy larger and for my taste buds, a nicer, crisper beer.
First up the regular Budweiser
I’ll try the regular one first for a reference point…
Calories – 39kcal per 100ml
Carbohydrate – 3g per 100ml
Sugar – 0g per 100ml
Alcohol – 4.5% ABV
Ah yes, i’ve honestly not had a bottle of Budweiser in 15 years id say. It’s how i remember it. Hopefully i’ll not offend too many by saying its just middle of the road.
Its not crisp and clean enough to be a classic lager, it’s not hoppy enough to be a Pilsner or IPA, it’s just somewhere in the middle.
Has it got to where it is today by marketing? Surely lots of people love this and i’m in the minority.
If i was forced to score this, id go 6/10. Not brilliant but but terrible.
Budweiser Zero review
Now for the Budweiser Zero, i’m actually nervous for it!
Calories – 14kcal per 100ml
Carbohydrate – 3.3g per 100ml
Sugar – 0.1g per 100ml
Alcohol – 0.0% ABV
Very respectable numbers here. Really low calorie and basically no added sugar is hard to do and takes some balls. You can often wind up with a watery empty feeling unless you pack the hops in.
There is the needed water, barley, hops and yeast. Fair enough, thats what beer is.
They have added “natural flavourings” which i’m always suspicious about but even more surprising is rice!
In today’s beer brewing industry, rice is primarily used as an adjunct in combination with barley malt.
As a brewing adjunct, rice has a very neutral flavour and aroma, and when properly converted in the brewhouse, it yields a light clean-tasting beer.
Not a lot of foam but it looks a like amber.
There really isn’t a lot to smell from it but i wouldn’t say there is anything unpleasant.
And what to say about the taste. It doesn’t really taste like the regular Budweiser but its not stand out either.
It’s lacking something, be that extra sugar or if not that then just a bigger flavour punch.
Its a bit weak, there isn’t a lot of hops and its not the most refreshing alcohol free lager on the market. It’s fallen in to the trap of being watery and empty without flavour or sugar.
I gave some to my wife who quite liked it and thought it was very refreshing so what do i know?!!
I think with the abundance of brilliant non alcoholic beers on the market currently then there isn’t much of a reason for me to buy this. However, i am well aware of Budweiser’s standing and following. The money doesn’t lie.
Therefore i’m pretty sure a large chunk of my reader will like this. Horses for courses
Im giving it a so so 5.5/10
Find out where this beer ranks compared to all the beers i have reviewed on my updated “Best Non Alcoholic Beers” page
Where to buy
If you probably quite rightly think i’m mad or want to buy some Bud Zero then full this link to Amazon to get some.
You can try these at Wise Bartender as well, a brilliant non alcoholic retailer
For UK readers, Light Drinks has this and others, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 5% off
*Affiliate Disclosure – if you click on the links and buy from these providers, i might receive a small commission*