All you wanted to know about non-alcoholic beer. Part 2

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Increasing demand

In 1981, the breweries of the Federal Republic sold about 90,000 hectoliters of non-alcoholic beer, of which 35% Birell, 29% Gerstel and 28% Clausthaler. In 1986, the Irish Guinness Brewery, with its top-fermented “caliber”, also presented a “non-alcoholic” beverage to provide businesspeople with beer-free drinking during their lunch break. Wappler meanwhile continued to work on his project, improved formulation and manufacturing process and baptized in 1988 the AUBI in “pilot”. This beer got much better in the GDR and solved another problem of the state. Alcohol prohibition prevailed in the factories, but the heat workers in the steelworks and mines as well as the glassblowers did not want to give up beer during their work. Wappler’s beer had only 0.5% alcohol and was therefore completely safe for consumption in the factories. The AUBI had also aroused interest abroad and so supplied the Stralauer Engelhardt brewery from 1986 “Foxy Light” to Michigan and “Berolina” to England. In the autumn of the same year, a gold medal at the Leipzig Trade Fair crowned Ulrich Wappler’s work.

Despite the increasing demand – the total annual production reached 11,200 in 1987 and 18,000 hectoliters two years later – there were no other breweries in the GDR for non-alcoholic beer to win, even though the state’s plan provided for a capacity of 100,000 hectoliters. Because the beer sales prices were fixed. While the brewers could sell their Pils for 1.28 Mark and an annual special beer even for 1.60 Mark per half liter, brought a bottle AUBI or Pilot only 75 Pfennige. So it was quite capitalist reasons that denied a non-alcoholic beer in the GDR a larger career. In 1995, US hobby brewers began experimenting with recipes for non-alcoholic beer, shortly thereafter Erdinger launched the first non-alcoholic wheat and discovered its isotonic properties together with the University of Weihenstephan. A new sports drink was born.

Not completely alcohol free

Beers up to 0.5% alcohol content may be called non-alcoholic. For example, if fruit juices can contain up to 1% alcohol by natural fermentation, the alcohol content of all other beverages except beer must be stated above 1.2%. Only completely non-alcoholic drinks may use the term “without alcohol”. In 2006, the Warsteiner brewery revolutionized the theme with the first zero-percent beer, Bitburger followed a year later. The craft beer world also began with bold steps: in 2010 BrewDog presented its alcohol-free IPA “Nanny State” in England, six years later, the brewery Nittenau and the Hamburg creative brewery Kehrwieder moved in Germany with their non-alcoholic IPA “üNN” or “Le chauffeur FreIPA” after.

tavernAlcohol-free beer is produced today either by Wappler’s method of stopped fermentation – especially non-alcoholic wheat beer – or by vacuum evaporation. Here, normally brewed beer flows through a vertical heated cylinder, in which there is negative pressure. As a result, the boiling point drops and the alcohol begins to evaporate already at about 40 ° C. From 78 ° C, it can be distilled out, but also flavoring ingredients are lost. The most modern process is vacuum rectification. Alcohol and beer are separated in several steps as in the distillery of a distillery. At low pressure, normal beer flows from below into the system, is heated, evaporated and condensed on higher ground. From level to level, the alcohol level increases until it can be drained at the end. The likewise withdrawn flavors can be added to the dealcoholized beer at the end again. Non-alcoholic beer accounts for over 5% of the German beer market, and the trend is rising.