What Non Alcoholic Beer Has No Alcohol? Plus 10 to try.


The terminology and labelling in the non alcoholic and alcohol free world can be confusing. For beers, you may read about low alcohol, non alcoholic and alcohol free. These all mean different things in different parts of the world.

What you really need to look for is the alcohol by volume percentage figure. If you want a truly alcohol free beer then this is the most important piece of the puzzle.

In general, beers labelled “alcohol free” may contain less than 0.0% alcohol, however the laws around this differ across the globe. The only truly alcohol free beers will have an alcohol by volume percentage of 0.0%. This is the important part of the label to look for.

Why do different labels mean different things, how do you check and what are the best alcohol free beers to buy?

What non alcoholic beer has no alcohol?

Does Non Alcoholic Beer Taste The S...
Does Non Alcoholic Beer Taste The Same

To anyone completely new to the non alcoholic market this must sound like a draft question. Surely all non alcoholic drinks have no alcohol, right?

Well, the truth is there are grades of “non alcoholic” ranging from 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) down down to 0.0% ABV. Even the 0.0% drinks just have to have less than 0.05% ABV as they can then round down to 1 decimal place so there will be folk who argue that even these are alcoholic too. I will come onto that later!

What do the non alcoholic beer terms on the label mean? How to check a beer is really alcohol free.

The non alcoholic and alcohol free beer labelling can be confusing, perhaps they do that on purpose.

I expand upon this topic in more depth in my specific article “Is alcohol free beer really alcohol free?

You will come across

  • low alcohol
  • non alcoholic
  • dealcoholised (more in wines than beers)
  • alcohol free

What is generally meant and understood by these terms is the table below

Description on labelMaximum ABV content
Low alcohol1.2%
Dealcoholised/non alcoholic 0.5%
Alcohol free0.05%
Non alcoholic beer label descriptons

So you would be forgiven in thinking if you find “alcohol free” on a beer label then it will definitely have an ABV of 0.0%. Unfortunately that just isn’t the case

Different countries and jurisdictions can have different laws and a bottle made in one place and sold some where else might have confusing labelling.

JurisdictionWhat the maximum ABV % can be for “alcohol free”
USA0.05%
UK0.05%
EU0.5%
Australia0.05%
Alcohol free meaning around the world

The above table represents some of the major players in the world. EU beers can be brought to the UK or even brewed in the UK under EU law (don’t start on Brexit!!) so whilst the “alcohol free” writing on the label is great for marketing, it can only be used as a guide as to what the ABV might be.

They only way to really know a beer is alcohol free and 0.0% is to find that exact percentage on the bottle, packaging or their website. They legally have to tell you that at the very least.

Is a beer with <0.05% alcohol still alcoholic then? It has alcohol.

The other pointless argument i see and hear on the internet and real life is that if a beer has 0.03% ABV then it does have alcohol so shouldn’t be called alcohol free at all.

Whilst this is technically true at an English language level the truth and science of it is somewhat different.

There are many ways to look at what the alcohol in a 0.0% beer represents or how it affects you, or doesn’t as the case may be…

Perhaps the best way of thinking about how little alcohol this represents is to consider the alcohol in every day foods and drinks that you don’t even consider as alcoholic.

My full article and evidence on the alcohol content of common foods is here but some of the stand out highlights are…

Type of foodHighest alcohol content (ABV) in percent %
Alcohol free drink0.05%
Non alcoholic drink0.5%
Grape juice (red)0.86%
Apple juice0.66%
Orange juice0.73%
White wine vinegar2.64%
Burger roll1.28%
Rye Bread0.2%
Sweet milk rolls1.21%
Banana0.2%
Ripe Banana0.4%
Ripe Pear0.04%
Yogurt0.02%
Alcohol content of food

When you consider a glass of orange juice might be up to x14 more alcoholic than a 0.0% beer or a ripe banana on rye bread alcohol multiples higher, you see how minuscule the alcohol content really is.

Why do some beers have 0.5% and others 0.0% ABV?

It seems like a small difference in alcohol content so why are some beers alcohol free at 0.0% and others non alcoholic at 0.5%. Surely they should all just go to 0.0% and be alcohol free?

Well, have you noticed anything about the split in which beers and breweries are at 0.0% and which are at 0.5%?

In general the bigger brands and higher volume players make the 0.0% alcohol free beers and the craft breweries and smaller volume players make the 0.5% non alcoholic beers. But why is that, what is the reason?

There are a few reasons i can find…

  • PR
  • Cost
  • Flavour

PR is out on its own but the cost and flavour reasons are interlinked.

PR of having a 0.0% beer

The big brands find it much easier to market and sell an alcohol free, 0.0% beer around the world. You can sell this more easily in jurisdictions that might traditionally oppose alcohol such as Muslim countries.

It is much easier to make an argument that alcohol free 0.0% beers are halal than 0.5% ones. You can see my full discussion on it here.

As well as ease of sale and marketing, once one big brand goes 0.0 then the others all have to benchmark themselves against that so you end up with all the big players in the same space.

The cost of making 0.0% vs 0.5% beers

As you can imagine, there are different brewing techniques to make different types of beers. Some are expensive and only become cost effective after you reach a certain threshold.

The best two ways to completely remove alcohol from beer is via spinning cone columns or cold filtration/reverse osmosis. You can read bout how non alcoholic and alcohol free beers are made in my article here.

To get right down to 0.0% you need to use these methods and they are not cheap. You need to be producing a huge amount of beer before the economics of scale kick in and this becomes the most profitable way.

As this isn’t an option for the smaller breweries they have to use different techniques which generally arrive at a slightly higher ABV but for less money spent at the low level operation.

Does the ABV affect the flavour?

A tricky one this, yes and no is the answer.

If the craft breweries tried to get from 0.5% to 0.0% they would have to use methods like boiling off the alcohol or dilution which would definitive impact on the flavour. If they leave the beer at 0.5% then it might not be too different from a 0.0% beer.

There are some major differences on how a craft 0.5% beer is brewed to keep the alcohol level down so it then doesn’t need removed at the end, because as i explained above, this can be very expensive to do well.

The smaller breweries use…

  • low carbohydrate containing grains
  • special yeast strains which convert less sugar to alcohol
  • limited fermentation when the fermentation is stopped early

All these combine to make less sugar available to be turned into alcohol and less alcohol produced.

Ive a complete article on 0.0% and 0.5% beers and why breweries go for each, available to read here

What are the top 10 completely alcohol free beers to try?

Now we have looked at what exactly an alcohol free, 0.0% beer is and why there are other types of ABV available, the next question is, “which beer should i try?”.

I have sampled well over 100 non alcoholic and alcohol free beers and below is the 10 alcohol free beers i think are must try beers.

The links are linked to my reviews of each of the beers for a fuller view them. Some are included because i think they taste incredible, others because they are the top and best selling brands in the space and need to be tried regardless.

Happy drinking!

Bitburger 0.0

Bitburger 0.0 is a German pilsner styled lager and currently my top ranking 0.0% lager.

For me, it tastes exactly like an alcohol beer. There is beautifully balanced hops and malt, great body and plenty of mouthfeel.

It has the added bonus of having the lowest sugar of all non alcoholic or alcohol free beers i have reviewed at 0g/100ml which is hugely impressive in its own right.

You can check out the live Amazon price by following my link here

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

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

Heineken 0.0

Just about the most popular alcohol free out there at the minute. Heineken have done a great job about spreading this across the world and marketing it.

It is cheap, readily available and extremely popular. For those reasons it is a must include here.

However i felt that some of the others might suit my taste a little better but some of my friends absolutely love this stuff so you’ll have to make your own mind up.

For Amazon follow this link. The price can change around the world so best to click and find the latest.

UK – Light Drinks and Sober Sauce have it and you get 5% off with code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE

Australia – Craft Zero is the place to go and get 10% off with code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE

Budweiser Zero

Another absolute beast in the alcohol free market is Budweiser Zero. It has huge sales on just the brand alone.

It it very low in calories at just 14kcal/100ml with basically no sugar.

I found the taste to be slightly lacking but all those sales means people out there are buying it and liking it.

To check out the latest prices on Amazon, follow this link

For UK readers, Light Drinks has this and others, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 5% off

You can try these at Wise Bartender as well, a brilliant non alcoholic retailer

Guinness 0.0

The Guinness 0.0 is a revelation. Im Irish and i now prefer this over the Guinness Draft can.

It is very low calorie but huge in flavour, it basically just tastes like Guinness.

It it overall one of my top ranking alcohol free beers and my top ranking stout, alcohol free or non alcoholic.

I think this is a must try if you like Guinness or stout.

For UK readers, Light Drinks has this and others, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 5% off

You can try these at Wise Bartender as well, a brilliant non alcoholic retailer

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

Carlsberg 0.0

Of all the big supermarket, big brand lagers, this is my favourite.

Their pilsner versions are head and shoulders above their pure lager green label beers.

This one has stacks of flavour and hops, very low sugar and low calories and will keep you wanting more.

They tongue in cheek say “probably the best lager in the world”, but this isn’t a million miles away from being the best non alcoholic lager in the world.

You can check out the live Amazon price by following my link here

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

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

Becks Blue

It took me a long time to get around to reviewing this. Beck’s Blue is one of the original alcohol free beers in the shops and from a time when noses were turned up to alcohol free beer.

Well i was shocked. It is actually a cracking beer. Who knew?!

It is refreshing, just the right amount of bitterness, nice malty mouthfeel and a moderate hoppy hit

For a dinosaur, it is still out there and punching.

You can check out the live prices and availability in your regional Amazon buy clicking this link

You can try these at Wise Bartender as well, a brilliant non alcoholic retailer

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

Leffe Blond 0.0

If you don’t care about calories or carbs and you just need an alcohol free beer then not many will pack more of a punch than Leffe Blond.

It has huge flavour, body and mouthfeel which you would expect with the highest calorie count and carbs of all the beers i have reviewed.

That said, it is delicious. The bottles come in small 250ml sizes so they are the perfect little treat size.

For Amazon follow this link for the live prices.

UK – Visit Dry Drinker and first order is 10% off

Australia – Craft Zero is the place to go and get 10% off with code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE

San Miguel 0.0

If you are from the UK and ever holidayed in Spain, this is the taste of summer sun.

Huge nostalgia beer for me but even seeing through that it is a very nice pilsner lager.

It is a very beer like alcohol free beer so if you are looking for your first initial foray into this world it is a great stepping stone.

You can check out the latest prices on Amazon here

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

In the UK, check this out at Wise Bartender, a brilliant non alcoholic site

Stella Artois Alcohol Free

Stella Artois is another beer i drank a lot of in my younger years, primarily because it had a relative high ABV compared to most other lagers.

This alcohol free version tastes pretty much like the Stella Artois i remember.

It has good body and depth and if you like your big European or Belgian beers then i think you will love this one too.

You can check out the latest prices on Amazon here

For Australian readers, Craft Zero has a range of products, if you use code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get an additional 10% off

In the UK, check this out at Wise Bartender, a brilliant non alcoholic site

Peroni Libera

I include Peroni Libera, not because it is my favourite but because it is a big brand and in a number of restaurants i have been in (mainly Italian), it is the only alcohol free beer on the menu.

It isn’t spectacular but it is solid. It is a nice accompaniment to a pizza or pasta dish.

It is light, medium malt and hops and goes down easy.

Light Drinks in the UK have them and if you use the discount code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE you get 5% off

You can of course click through to Amazon to see if they are cheaper

In Australia you can get 10% off with code OPENINGTHEBOTTLE at CraftZero

*Affiliate Disclosure – if you click on the links and buy from these providers, i might receive a small commission*

philmcclelland

Hi im Phil. Im the sole writer on this site. For more info look at my about page https://www.openingthebottle.com/about-us/

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