Budweiser Zero is an alcohol-free beer that Anheuser- Busch InBev brews with only 50 calories and no sugar. It is made for those who want to cut back or eliminate alcohol from their diet while still enjoying a beer’s flavor and refreshing taste.
Although NA (no alcohol) beers are permitted to have a maximum alcohol content of 0.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and the majority of NA beers do have some alcohol in them. Budweiser Zero has 0% ABV. That is a win for those that want zero alcohol.
History of Budweiser Beer
Budweiser is an American-style pale lager introduced to the American beer market in 1876. After a trip to Bohemia, Adolphus Busch and his friend Carl Conrad developed a “Bohemian-Style lager in the United States.
It is produced in their brewery in St Louis, Missouri.
Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV is a drink and brewing company based in Leuven, Belgium. AB InBev has a global management office in New York and regional headquarters in countries worldwide.
History of Budweiser Zero
When prohibition was introduced in the United States in 1920, Anheuser-Busch began brewing a beverage called Bevo, a non-alcoholic drink that came in under 0.5% ABV to fall in line with the laws of the time. However, when prohibition was absolved, Bevo fell out of favor.
In 2016 Budweiser Prohibition Brew was introduced as a non-alcoholic beer by Anheuser-Busch InBev, with Canada being the first market to sell it.
Prohibition Brew was brewed the same way as the alcoholic Budweiser, with the alcohol being removed by heating the beer in a vacuum and using a brewing process that stops the malt from fermenting.
In 2020 Budweiser Prohibition Brew was discontinued due to it not gaining much market appeal and replaced with Budweiser Zero, which was developed using a de-alcoholization technique.
Budweiser Zero launched a new marketing campaign in which NBA star Dwayne Wade was showcased as the spokesman for the brand and stated that Budweiser had a hardworking athlete in mind while conceptualizing this drink.
How is Budweiser Beer Made?
The following ingredients are used to make Budweiser beer:
- Barley provides the sugars that will be transformed into alcohol by the yeast. Budweiser is made with 70% six-row malt.
- Hops are the ingredient responsible for giving the beer its characteristic bitterness and are essential in defining its taste. The various hops used to make Budweiser beers are obtained from hops made in the United States and Europe.
- Rice is an ingredient added to American lagers to give the beer a crisp taste and crystal-clear appearance, which is one of the main reasons it has a different flavor from lagers made in Europe.
- Water is an integral part of the brewing process. For example, the Budweiser Brewery in St Louis, Missouri, gets its water from the Missouri River. It undergoes a multi-stage filtration process before being pumped into brewing tanks, where fermentation occurs.
- Yeast is added to the wort to transform the sugars into alcohol and contributes to its flavor. The Anheuser-Busch company uses a yeast strain that descends directly from the original yeast culture used to produce Budweiser in 1876.
The Brewing Process
Milling and Mashing
The barley is milled and mixed with water in mash tanks that mash and cook the ingredients forming the primary liquid base for the beer. The mash is given a short protein rest at 120 degrees F.
At the same time, the rice is cooked for a short period, then added to the mash cooker and cooked again to turn the starch into sugars.
The resultant wort (sugary water) is transferred to a lauter tun, where the liquid is strained from the solid barley and rice particles.
The strained liquid malt is transferred to a brew kettle and brought to a boil for about 90 minutes. Hops are added to the brew kettle at different intervals to extract flavor and bitterness.
Once boiling is completed, the wort goes through a stripping process that removes sulfur compounds by letting the wort flow over the inner surface of thin vertical tubes through which hot sterile air is blown.
Fermentation is a process whereby yeast converts the glucose in the wort to alcohol and carbon dioxide to give beer its alcohol and carbonation. The wort is cooled after boiling and transferred to a fermentation tank where yeast is added and allowed to ferment.
Fermentation and beechwood lagering typically takes 21 days at 45 to 48 degrees F.
How is Budweiser Zero Made?
Budweiser Zero is made from the same ingredients and follows the brewing process used to brew Budweiser beer, as explained above. In addition, creating Budweiser Zero requires a further step known as de-alcoholization.
De-alcoholized beer is made the same as regular beer. Once the fermentation process is complete, the alcohol is extracted using various techniques, such as:
- Vacuum distillation – allows the beer to be heated at low pressure to maintain the flavor while evaporating the alcohol.
- Gas stripping – the beer is heated gently in a vacuum, then water vapor or an inert gas such as nitrogen is run through it. This method picks up the alcohol, leaving the beer behind.
- Reverse Osmosis – the beer is forced under high pressure through a membrane that catches larger molecules, including those that contain the beer flavor, but allows water and alcohol to pass through.
Steam distillation separates the alcohol and water, and the removed water is added back to the concentrated beer.
The brewery where Budweiser Zero is brewed says it uses the latest technology to create a beer free from alcohol but has not revealed its methods.
Prices, Variations, and Sizes
Budweiser Zero has a clear amber color, few bubbles, and hardly any head. Although the aroma is weak initially, it has malt aromas led by a corny character, which grows as it warms, and floral hop aromas.
Although Budweiser Zero may not appeal to regular Budweiser or Bud Light drinkers, it would be an acceptable substitute for those who plan to eliminate alcohol from their lifestyle for health or fitness reasons.
Average Retail Prices for Budweiser Zero
- Budweiser Zero 6 x 12oz cans $7.99
- Budweiser Zero 12 x 12oz cans $11.99
- Budweiser Zero 1 x 18oz can $2.39
Alternatives / Comparisons of Budweiser Zero
The demand for low and no-alcohol beers is one of the fastest-growing drink categories, with sales predicted to grow to $25 billion by 2024.
Although non-alcoholic beer had a reputation for having little flavor, improved techniques in removing alcohol from beer have resulted in many NA beers being available that have not lost that characteristic beer flavor.
The following is a range of non-alcohol beers worth considering as an alternative to Bud Zero:
Heineken 0.0% has refreshing fruity notes with a soft malty body that is perfectly balanced and tastes very similar to the alcoholic Heineken. 0.0 contains no more than 0.03% ABV and 69 calories.
Beck’s non-alcoholic is light, amber in color, with notes of hops and rich malt. The crisp taste and a nice hops finish make this a refreshing non-alcoholic alternative. This beer has an alcohol content of 0.5% ABV and 53 calories.
Brooklyn Special Effects Hoppy Amber
Brooklyn Brewery’s Hoppy Amber is a non-alcohol addition to the well-known Brooklyn Brewery beer line up. Special effects beer is brewed using a fermentation method that allows it to retain flavor without the alcohol.
This beer has tasting notes of citrus, bread, and just the right amount of bitterness from the hops making this a satisfying non-alcoholic beer with less than 0.5% ABV.
Will non-alcoholic beer make me drunk?
Most alcoholic beers contain no alcohol or a maximum of 0.5% ABV, which is not enough to make you drunk.
Can I use non-alcoholic beer in my weight loss plan?
If you want to lose weight, it is necessary to reduce your calorie intake. For example, NA beer has fewer calories than traditional beers. NA beers have about 50 to 80 calories per 12oz bottle, while traditional beers have nearly 200 calories per 12oz bottle.
Non-alcoholic beer will help to reduce calorie intake if you drink beer, but it is still recommended that beer consumption, even of NA beer, be restricted or reduced in a weight loss plan
Can minors buy NA beer?
Some states in the United States permit the sale of non-alcohol beer to minors. However, some states restrict the drinking age of NA beer to 21.