St Peter’s and Adnams among the East Anglian breweries riding the low alcohol wave

Steve Magnall, chief executive of St Peter's Brewery, with its new Without alcohol-free beer. Picture: St Peter's Brewery

Steve Magnall, chief executive of St Peter's Brewery, with its new Without alcohol-free beer. Picture: St Peter's Brewery - Credit: St Peter's Brewery

As more people move away from alcoholic drinks the market for non-alcoholic drinks is rising and the region's breweries are aiming not to be left behind.

Adnams' low-alcohol ale Sole Star. Picture: Sarah Groves.

Adnams' low-alcohol ale Sole Star. Picture: Sarah Groves. - Credit: Sarah Groves

The UK has seen an 18% fall in alcohol consumption over the last decade and this weekend sees the first Mindful Drinking Festival, in London, which will celebrate low alcohol and alcohol-free brews.

Bungay brewery St Peter's will be attending with two of its non-alcoholic products, which it says have been a hit with consumers.

Chief executive Steve Magnall said: 'Our Without Original and Without Gold have been phenomenally successful, proving just how much demand there is for high quality, alcohol-free beers that really are as good as their alcoholic counterparts.

'By supporting the Mindful Drinking Festival we have a fantastic opportunity to prove how strong the alcohol-free category is becoming and ensure that even more people have a chance to try our fantastic alcohol-free beers.'

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It is not the only East Anglian beer maker to venture into the market.

EDP/EADT Top 100 firm Adnams, based in Southwold, has seen strong online sales of its low alcohol Sole Star beer since it was launched a 0.9% abv version in March.

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Fergus Fitzgerald, head brewer at Adnams, said: 'Sales for low alcohol beers in the UK are increasing all the time but we still have some way to go to match the market share they enjoy in other European countries.

'We've had great feedback since we lowered the abv of Sole Star earlier this year and it is selling well in our stores and online.'

In the week after its release the lower abv Sole Star was the top seller on Adnams' website.

The beer was made by selecting malts lower in starch, reducing the amount of yeast in the brew and fermenting at a lower temperature in order to keep the flavours while minimising the alcohol content.

One of the keys to non-alcoholic beer is achieving similar flavours to those in the alcohol version.

Patrick Fisher, owner of Norwich craft brewery Redwell Brewing, said low alcohol beer was something the firm was working on.

'There are problems in the low alcohol market trying to get across the flavours and aromas from the craft beer market,' he said. 'That is challenging for many brewers and it is something we are working on but we don't want to release a product until we can get something which we are proud of.

'We don't want to release a beer before it is ready just because it is fashionable.'

Mr Fisher added there was a demand for low alcohol beers from gastro pubs in rural locations which wanted diners to be able to drive to them.

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