The “King of Beers”, Budweiser, has launched their own alcohol free beer, Budweiser Zero. It looks and tastes like a beer, it is branded as a beer so is it really free of all alcohol or it this just a marketing gimmick?
Well, read on for the full answer and what all the jargon means…
Yes Budweiser Zero is really alcohol free. It has less than 0.05% ABV which is the legal definition of alcohol free in the UK and USA. However not all beers you buy that are labelled as alcohol free will be <0.05%, some can have up to 0.5% ABV if made in the EU
There are some further point to consider when looking at alcohol free beers so read on for a fuller understanding of the terms and considerations.
Is Budweiser Zero really alcohol free?
Yes Budweiser Zero is really alcohol free. This is according to the legal definition of “alcohol free”.
As you can see from the can in my picture above, Budweiser Zero has 0.0% alcohol by volume. That is rounded dow so it has to have less than 0.05%. Now i know many of you will be saying that 0.05% is not absolutely zero. I get that, and if you have never pondered just how much alcohol this is then you might think that is still an amount to be worried about.
For some comparison to see just how alcohol free Budweiser Zero is, we can run a comparison of various food and drinks and the hidden alcohol they contain. I’ll bet you wouldn’t have a second thought about the alcohol in them which is multiples of that in Budweiser Zero….
|Type of food||Highest alcohol content (ABV) in percent %|
|Non alcoholic drink||0.5%|
|Grape juice (red)||0.86%|
|White wine vinegar||2.64%|
|Sweet milk rolls||1.21%|
The odds are you haven’t worried about getting drunk on orange juice at x14 the alcohol content of Budweiser Zero or think you might not be able to drive after a bit of banana on rye bread!
For a full review of how much alcohol is in common food and exactly why it is there, then have a read at my article on it here
How to tell how much alcohol an alcohol free beer has?
As i mentioned before, in the non alcoholic and alcohol free world, the labels can be misleading.
Budweiser Zero is labelled as alcohol free but if it was just “Budweiser Alcohol Free” and you couldn’t see the ABV on the can, then it could have different alcohol levels depending on the geographical location.
In the table below is what the maximum ABV that an “alcohol free” drink can contain in jurisdictions across the world. You will see the EU is a bit of an outlier and as i live in the UK with lots of EU imports, it can be tricky.
|Jurisdiction||What the maximum ABV % can be for “alcohol free”|
To be totally sure how much alcohol is in a beer, you have to look at the labelling information but more importantly look on the packaging for the ABV %, if you cant see it then their website should have it.
There will be other descriptors on beer bottles, the most popular being “non alcoholic”. This usually represents an ABV of up to 0.5%.
|Description on label||Maximum ABV content|
|Dealcoholised or Non Alcoholic||0.5%|
If you want to look further at the laws around labelling and what to look for then read my article on it here
If Budweiser Zero has no alcohol, is it halal?
This can be a complex issue with different scholars having differing opinions but from my studies and research i feel that Budweiser Zero, as an alcohol free beer, can be considered halal.
lslamic law states that an observant Muslim must not drink “even one drop” of any liquid that can make them intoxicated. So even a mouthful of alcoholic beer is haram.
As Budweiser Zero can not make you drunk and has a tiny fraction of even the alcohol of fruit drinks, i think it can be considered as halal.
For illustration purposes, these are the quantities of Budweiser Zero you would have to drink over 1-2hrs to get close to being intoxicated…
- 15 gallons
To see how i calculated these amounts you can read all about it here
For a full overview of the issues on alcohol free beer and if they are halal, read my article on it here
What age do you have to be to buy Budweiser Zero?
Budweiser Zero doesnt contain alcohol so anyone can buy it, isnt that right?
Unfortunately it is not quite that simple after all. It comes down to a mixture of law, PR and ethics.
In general it is not illegal to sell non alcoholic drinks (<0.5% ABV) to minors. As they are deemed non alcoholic the usual laws don’t apply to them.
In practice, all the major breweries, manufacturers and retailers actively avoid marketing and selling their products to minors. Even if it is legal, it would rightly be a huge PR disaster.
If you saw an 11 year old drinking a legally bought can of Budweiser Zero would you be concerned? I think you probably would.
Minimum drinking ages are set for good reason. Alcohol in young people can affect…
- Brain development
- Unintentional injuries such as car crashes and falls
- Death from alcohol poisoning
- School performance
- Alcohol dependence in later life
- Additional risky behaviours such as drugs
My full articles on the ins and outs of why minors probably can’t buy 0.0 drinks click here
Will Budweiser Zero affect any medical issues?
If you have an number of medical conditions you may be trying to avoid alcohol.
You could be…
- Allergic to alcohol
- Sensitive to alcohol
- Get migraines from alcohol
- On medications which interact with alcohol
When you drink alcohol it passes from your gut to your liver before going around the body. The tiny amount of alcohol in Budweiser Zero is fully metabolised so you get no effects from it. It is biologically insignificant so if you need to avoid alcohol you can still drink Budweiser Zero.
The Budweiser and beer branding will confuse many as to just how low 0.05% is but as we explored above it is a fraction of the alcohol in fruits, breads and even yogurt!
For a full overview of the calories in Budweiser Zero, read my article here
If you want to know what Budweiser Zero tastes like vs Budweiser, read this article
For every other question you can think of re Budweiser Zero, i have the answers here