Square Root

What are the benefits of alcohol-free drinks?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Blog, News

Alcohol-free drinks are growing rapidly in popularity and are becoming much more commonplace. But why are alcohol free drinks becoming so popular? What is the point of alcohol-free drinks anyway?

A recent survey carried out by Opinium showed that people gave the following reasons for drinking no and low alcohol drinks in the past 12 months:

  • 39% Drink at times when it would not be appropriate to have something stronger (such as when driving or getting up early the next day)
  • 36% Taste
  • 33% To cut down
  • 22% Out of curiosity
  • 18% Drink alongside conventional drinks
  • 15% Friend/family member recommended/offered
  • 10% Seen, read or heard about these drinks
  • 8% Illness or to improve health
  • 8% To help take part in temporary abstinence
  • 7% Recovering from alcohol dependency
  • 5% Reduce possibility of impulsive behaviour or poor judgement
  • 5% Pregnant/supporting pregnant partner
  • 3% Avoid sober shaming/to fit in
  • 3% Religious reasons

I carried out a survey of 37 people this year who were mostly middle-class professionals in the age range of 26-45. It showed their top five reasons to buy alcohol-free drinks were:

  • 38% To cut down on alcohol consumption
  • 24% To reduce calorie intake
  • 19% To drink in place of alcohol in the week
  • 19% To improve physical health
  • 16% To improve mental health

Other reasons mentioned included: religious reasons, to feel better the next day and to be able to offer something to guests who are not drinking.

As you can see, there are many reasons why these drinks are becoming so popular. What is your reason for being interested?

There are also some alcohol-free drinks which have added functional ingredients which are supposed to provide a specific health benefit, but this subject will be covered in another blog post!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook on @drinksacademyuk for alcohol free reviews and news, to help you discover alcohol free drinks that you will love.

References

NoLo-drinks-and-alcohol-related-harms-Sept-2020.pdf (smf.co.uk)

Alcohol free, low alcohol and de-alcoholised – What does it all mean?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Blog

In most of Europe the term “alcohol free” is used for drinks which contain 0.5% abv or below (Corfe, Hyde and Shepherd, 2020). The rules in the UK are stricter however, with alcohol free being considered as 0.05% abv or below.

So why does alcohol free beer have alcohol?

Some years ago, breweries such as Brewdog and Big Drop started labelling their beers “alcohol free” even though they contained 0.5% abv. Many other companies have since followed their lead on this, including some “alcohol free” wine producers.

They can do this because the labelling of no and low alcohol drinks in the UK is governed by voluntary guidance, not legislation. In other words, you can choose whether to follow these guidelines or not.

The guidance from the Department for Health and Social Care stipulates that drinks of between 0.5% and 0.05% abv should be labelled as “De-alcoholised.”

What does “low alcohol” mean?

Drinks of below 1.2% abv down to 0.5% abv are classed as “low alcohol” in the guidance.

Confused yet?

We do not blame you! In fact, many brewers and people within the drinks industry do not understand these rules. As you can see, it is a bit of a free for all. It really does need simplifying by the government.

As an aside, drinks of 0.5% abv and less are not covered by the Licencing Act 2003 and can therefore be sold to those under 18 years of age, though many choose not to do this for moral reasons.

A summary of the UK labelling guidance:

1.2% – 0.5% abv = “low alcohol”

0.5% – 0.05% = “de-alcoholised”

0.05% and below = “alcohol free”

“Drinks shouldn’t be labelled “alcohol free” when they contain alcohol. It’s misleading.”

We can certainly understand this point of view. Logically, it does make sense.

However, the level of alcohol in drinks with 0.5% abv or below cannot get you drunk and is similar to the level of alcohol you are likely to be consuming in certain foods. According to a paper by Gorgus, Hittinger and Schrenk, 2016, the following foods contain trace amounts of alcohol:

  • Bread and bakery products were found to contain up to 1.28g alcohol per 100g
  • Apple juice was found to contain up to 0.66g alcohol per 100g

Corfe, Hyde and Shepherd, 2020, states that the health effects of drinks with 0.5% abv and below on pregnant women has not been well studied to date. If you are pregnant, it is recommended that you consult your GP before consuming such drinks.

Conclusion

The current UK labelling rules are confusing and require much needed clarification.

It is our view that it would be simpler to call everything of 0.5% abv and under “alcohol free” in line with most the rest of Europe. Then this should be made this clear to consumers.

What do you think?

To learn more about alcohol free drinks and to try some delicious ones why not attend one of our tasting events? Please see the events page.

References

Corfe, S., Hyde, R. and Shepherd, J., 2020. Alcohol-free and low-strength drinks – Understanding their role in reducing alcohol related harms. [online] Smf.co.uk. Available at: <https://www.smf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/NoLo-drinks-and-alcohol-related-harms-Sept-2020.pdf> [Accessed 25 May 2021].

Gorgus, E., Hittinger, M. and Schrenk, D., 2016. Estimates of Ethanol Exposure in Children from Food not Labeled as Alcohol-Containing. [PDF] Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5421578/> [Accessed 25 May 2021].

How to open a bottle of sparkling wine

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Blog, Sparkling wine, Wine
Opening a bottle of sparkling wine

Step by step:

  1. Make sure your sparkling wine is nice and chilled (6 – 10 degrees C is perfect). There are 6 bars of pressure in a bottle of Champagne. Chilling reduces this, and also ensures your wine will be at optimum serving temperature.
  2. Remove the foil
  3. Loosen the wire cage while holding the cork in place with your thumb
  4. Tilt the bottle at an angle of around 30 degrees, gripping the cage and cork in one hand, and the base of the bottle in the other
  5. Rotate the bottle, not the cork
  6. Hold the cork firmly, resisting its urge to fly out, and slowly ease it from the bottle
  7. The bottle should open quietly, not with and explosion, people screaming and a flying cork (although granted, this is more fun!)