A short blog this week – and more of a point of clarification, not least for us selling the products. Think of it as a kind of public service announcement, our interpretation on confusing definitions.

What is the difference between the terms ‘non-alcoholic’, ‘alcohol free’ and ‘low alcohol’?

The above terms are used interchangeably, and, added to shortened versions like ‘no and low’ and ‘AF’ cause confusion.

Very (very) simply, they are all essentially the same. A drink is ‘alcohol free, or ‘non-alcoholic’ if it contains less than 0.5% abv. (alcohol by volume).  So, from 0.0% to 0.5% it is alcohol free.  The 0.5% threshold is important as this is a legal definition and drinks can be sold from unlicensed premises.

To put 0.5% abv. into context, a fully ripened banana can contain up to this amount of alcohol. 

However (told you it was confusing), alcohol free drinks cannot be sold to under 18s – the reason for this is cited as avoiding promoting alcohol to children (the packaging for example is very similar to standard beer – just look at our ‘Lowtide’ range to see how cool the branding is).  Serving alcohol free drinks to under 18s in pubs/bars is discretionary.  Many of the big chains have policies not to do so, due to the difficulty it causes staff in seeing who is drinking what type of beer (given how similar they look).    

To be the devil’s advocate you could argue that selling alcohol free drinks to under 18s may promote responsible drinking and highlight the fact that it’s not just about getting drunk but enjoying the taste and flavours.  And these drinks must be better than high caffeine energy drinks? Something to think about!

Some of the beers we sell are 0.0%, they have simply been brewed with a different process.  As for difference in taste, well that’s for you, the customer to decide – we have favourites both 0.0 and 0.5%. To avoid confusion, and from now onwards, at dry. we’ll always use the term ‘alcohol free’ across our product range for reasons of consistency.

So, whether 0.0%, 0.3% or 0.5%, they are all alcohol free and, most importantly, are brewed with skill and passion to give a great taste.

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