Guinness has launched their long awaited Guinness 0.0 Alcohol Free Stout. The question that many people who are new to the non alcohol and alcohol free market are asking is “Is Guinness 0.0 really alcohol free?”.
Well, read on for the full answer and what all the jargon means…
Yes Guinness 0.0 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 nuance points to consider both for Guinness 0.0 and the wider market so lets explore these further.
Is Guinness 0.0 really alcohol free?
Yes Guinness 0.0 is really alcohol free. This is according to the legal definition of “alcohol free”.
Guinness 0.0 will have no more than 0.05% alcohol by volume. Now i know many of you will be saying that 0.05% is not completely zero. This is technically correct but semantics aside, that amount of alcohol has no biological impact on the body.
For some comparison to see just how alcohol free Guinness 0.0% is, we can look at the alcohol in some food and see if you would consider them alcoholic or worry about the alcohol in them….
|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%|
My guess is you don’t worry about getting drunk on orange just at x14 the alcohol content of Guinness 0.0 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 alluded to before, not all “alcohol free” beers are born equal. Guinness 0.0 is labelled as alcohol free but if it was just “Guinness Alcohol Free” with no mention of the ABV and made in the EU, there would have been a decent chance of it having up to 0.5% ABV.
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”|
The answer to work out if your alcohol free beer really has 0.0% ABV is to look for that ABV information as well as the alcohol free labelling.
In general you will find the ABV on the bottle as well as whatever they have called the beer. This is the most accurate piece of the puzzle so i would recommend this approach as best practice.
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 Guinness 0.0 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 Guinness 0.0, as an alcohol free beer, can be considered halal.
lsamic law is clear that Muslims are not allowed to drink any intoxicants, or any drink that may make a person intoxicated.
As Guinness 0.0 can not make you drunk and has 1/14th of the alcohol of orange juice i think it should be considered halal.
To even come close to feeling the affects of alcohol and have a blood alcohol level of half of the legal amount for you to be intoxicated, you would need to drink…
- 15 gallons
of Guinness 0.0 in an hour and then keep up this rate. I think you would die trying. To follow my maths on that 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 Guinness 0.0?
Guinness 0.0 has no alcohol so surely anyone can buy it right?
Well you may or may not be surprised to find out that this isn’t the case. 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.
However most retailers and manufacturers don’t sell or market their drinks to minors as they are considered adult drinks and styled the same as the alcoholic ones.
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
With this in mind, basically all the manufacturers do not want to market their look a like alcoholic branded products to minors. They only promote and aim their drinks to someone over the legal drinking age.
Similarly the retailers do not want to bring any undue bad PR by selling adult branded non alcoholic copies of alcoholic drinks. Would you be happy to see a 10 year old buy some Guinness 0.0? Probably not.
My full articles on the ins and outs of why minors probably can’t buy 0.0 drinks click here
Will Guinness 0.0 affect any medical issues?
There are a few medical issues in which you might want to drink any alcohol.
You could be…
- Allergic to alcohol
- Sensitive to alcohol
- Get migraines from alcohol
- On medications which interact with alcohol
Luckily for all these conditions and more, Guinness 0.0 really should be considered alcohol free despite the up to 0.05% ABV.
The Guinness 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!
Suffice to say that the minuscule amount of alcohol remaining in a Guinness 0.0 will have absolutely no affect on anyone and will be metabolised away harmlessly without and issue.
For a full overview of the calories in Guinness 0.0, read my article here
If you want to know what Guinness 0.0 tastes like vs Guinness draft, read this article
For every other question you can think of re Guinness 0.0, i have the answers here