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Teetotal tipples: 7 no-alcohol drinks in Japan

By Liam Carrigan

0ne of the best — and sometimes worst — parts of my job here at GaijinPot involves reading and responding to messages from readers.

Recently, someone sent a message looking for some information regarding no-alcohol beers in Tokyo. I previously wrote about this topic a couple of years ago, when I was on a health kick and trying to go a summer without alcohol.

Much to my dismay, I learned last week that my favorite no-alcohol beer, Asahi Black Zero, has been discontinued. Thankfully, Japan is never short of new ideas when it comes to alcohol-free alternatives to that cold, refreshing summer pint.

So, today for your consideration, here are some beer and cocktail alternatives for you try this summer that contain no alcohol and are readily available in convenience stores and bars across Japan. Some are good, some are bad and some are barely drinkable — but I’ll leave the taste testing up to you.

Click here to read more.

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No worries, Liam... much like the seasonal cans the beer company comes out with, with sakura on their surface or what have you, they have Asahi Zero, which is exactly the same, just without the "black" in the name. So, it's not so much "new ideas" as it is just slightly changing names and keeping the product near exactly the same.

In any case, I switched to non-alcohol beer a few years back for a while (still don't drink alcohol, but have more or less stopped the non-alcohol stuff, too), and my biggest complaint about it, besides cans that are so similar to their alcohol counterparts that not only will staff ask you to "press the confirmation button" that doesn't appear because it's not alcohol, but nosy people will point out they saw you drinking somewhere you shouldn't have been when you weren't, is price. I know a number of people who quit drinking because they had no choice -- they are alcoholics and this alternative gives them a way to winnow off the real thing, although I wouldn't recommend it as a substitute since the habit doesn't change. Cans of non-alcohol beer are MORE expensive than their happoshu counterparts, making it hit the pocket of those who drink it often, and penalizing designated drivers who still want to have a bit of fun at enkais, etc. They should drop the costs to those of soft drinks, but are clearly just price gouging because of the popularity of the drinks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

No alcohol beer - vile. As for other non-alcoholic drinks, most of them are full of sugar. If I don't want to drink when out often my only option is water

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When I don't feel like drinking for whatever reason, I usually have sparkling mineral water with lime or lemon. A tad more interesting than tap water and there are lots to try. I have never purchased or even tried any non-alcohol "beer". (Likewise for decaf coffee, margarine, "lite" or "diet" products.) Makes no sense to me. Consume quality in moderation. I don't begrudge those who do buy these type of products but the TV ads with people getting so excited about brown fizzy water are pretty damn funny.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think those non alcoholic beers are terrible. I would rather just drink water.

Last time I had one was at a promotional free handout. Drank some and threw the rest away.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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