Various cans of alcohol-free beers are displayed on a supermarket shelf in Tokyo. Photo: REUTERS file
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A sobering strategy for pandemic times - brewers bank on alcohol-free beer boom

32 Comments
By Ritsuko Ando

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32 Comments
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I avoid Japanese regular beer.

Better to buy craft or euro beers for a better taste experience.

Wouldn't buy zero alc beer just drink tea on non beer days

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Better off just drinking water.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Wouldn't buy zero alc beer just drink tea on non beer days

exactly !

if you don’t get that buzz, What’s the point of drinking !?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Zero taste for zero beers.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

@tooheysnew Exactly mate!!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I think they taste terrible. They also cost more, sometimes much more, than other soft drinks.

Some non-alcoholic cocktails taste quite good. Even just soda water with lime.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Last time I tried a non-alc beer was at some matsuri where some company reps were handing out free samples. Terrible..would never buy it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

All Free seems to be the best, although it isn't great. I drink it once a week for my liver break.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Better to buy craft or euro beers for a better taste experience.

One my crazes these past few years is locating and trying craft beer from different places in Japan. Only 10-20% were good and worthy of drinking again. The rest of them tasted the same and not worth the price tag.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese non-alcoholic beers gave gotten so much better in recent years. My favorite is the Asahi Dry Zero.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

It surprises me some people enjoy the taste of beer enough to drink it without alcohol...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Lol liver break, how about work break, or stupidity break , which are far more dangerous

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Japanese beer is quite good, especially when you're from a beer country like Belgium, Germany or Czechia. Definitely better than average or above average French or Italian beer.

You can get quite good non alcoholic beer in Europe. But as for non alcoholic beer in Japan, it's really like a juice or US beer. Never understood why is it like this. It's not a rocket science anymore.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I sampled a variety of non-alcoholic beers (including European ones), but I couldn't find anything to like. Same with happoshu.

I am not as rich as the posters above (and I drink almost daily), so I will stick with Yebisu, the blonde and the pale ale versions. Very decent beer, and compares well with the German beers I sometimes (read once a week) buy from the local Yamaya. Again, at the 300 jpy / 500 mL price range.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I’d like to see more low alcohol beers in Japan. I remember quite a few decent ones I had back in the UK at around 0.5%.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Alcohol free beer! Dear god it’s enough to drive you to drink!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I bought one by mistake once...... Couldn't finish it.

Will never make that mistake again!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The local offerings are uniformly bad - thin and sour, even bitter, but in a bad way. Seems there is a market, though, and some European and US breweries are apparently producing reasonably good non-alcohol or very-low alcohol brews. Maybe one of the Japanese craft beer breweries will jump in...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I count myself lucky that I've never had the taste for alcohol. I drink it occasionally when I want to feel good, but I've never once in my life thought "I need a drink right now".

My point being that fake beer seems entirely pointless to me. Beer tastes like crap - its redeeming quality is that it gets you drunk. When they take that away from it, it's just piss tasting water.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Oops, don't know why I made the first half my post a quote.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe a couple of genuine alcoholic beverages, Strangerland. just before lunch?

Non-alcoholic beer is expensive, there is no oomph, if you are driving then a coffee seriously strong, towel loads of caffeine gives more of a poke.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Maybe a couple of genuine alcoholic beverages, Strangerland. just before lunch?

If I'm hanging out with a buddy on a Saturday afternoon, I'll have vodka for breakfast, and keep going all day.

But I only do it once a year or so. I'm no teetotaler.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Neither an I, by any stretch of the imagination.

If it's a beer, make it proper alcoholic drink made from yeast-fermented malt flavored with hops, that has a wallop.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

While non-alcoholic beer is estimated to account for just 1% of overall beer sales worldwide, rapid growth is predicted.

I don't think folks are all that fired-up to drink fake-beer that has a lousy metallic aftertaste.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Beers in Japan are not that good and low choice.

Yebisu indeed aming the rather good ones.

For piss beer, you could add Picon for those who know.

And non-alcohol alcolic beverages, what a waste.

A Coca-cola then !

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I'd like to see more low alcohol options rather than alcohol free. The article shows low alcohol accounts for 20% of sales in Australia, and I'm sure it would take off with the red-face clientele here. Non-alc is getting surprisingly good though, enjoyed one over lunch on the weekend as I was bike touring (wouldn't have hesitated to have a regular in Aus but different rules apply).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've tried the major brand Japanese alcohol-free 'beers' and despite having a slightly beery smell they tasted like liquid metal or plastic. Not good at all. If anyone has a recommendation of one that actually tastes like beer I would try again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Like alcohol is the only thing that damages one's liver. NO without the thanks and just pass me a real beer. Moderation is key and alcohol-free ain't for me.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nothing but the real thing for me. However, as I always say, to each his own.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If your drinking that much beer that its effecting your liver, well you really do need to change your life style, especially drinking lots of booze. As for liver rest days, it takes months for your liver to repare its self, one day is not enough, put your health first, ive seen to many people drink them selfs to an early grave.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Brian Wheway, Indeed my Doctor insists this same every health check.

Addiction/habit it is a short route to the cemetery.

I don't have your abstinence, frankly, one would be foolish not to recognize as common sense.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Gin makes it taste good!

Gives it body!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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