Really? 0.0 ABV Beer? From the Makers of Bud…What’s the Point?

Well, I really don’t know what to make of this “beer”.  And I put Beer in quotes, because can it really be beer without any alcohol?  I’m not saying it has to be a lot but maybe like 2% or 1.5%.  This beer is being developed by a Belgian Team at AB InBev.  They say the reason they developed was to improve flagging beer sales in Europe.  Really?  You are going to pin your hopes on a beer with NO alcohol?  Does this not sound like the stupidest idea ever?

Now I have heard all sorts of accusations on the interwebs that AB InBev is trying to kill Craft Beer and this is part of their nefarious plan to trick people into thinking that this is what “craft” is, blah blah, etc.  I think that they are fools and don’t have a clue.  This is what you get when Coke panics (i.e. New Coke).  This isn’t some sort of dastardly plan hatched deep within the bowels of AB InBev.  This is a cry for help!  These people couldn’t brew a decent beer if their life depended on it, but they will brew a ton of shitty beer and then with their lawyers and Ad Men convince you that you love the stuff.  This puts AB InBev in a totally new light for me.  They are like a really strong, but really stupid caveman with a big rock.  They are dangerous, but if you stay away from them you’ll probably be ok.

So, I’m not really sure what else to say about this.  I’m not even sure we will see it over here on the American market, but if it does get here, I will not buy it.  In taste testing the women said it was ok, and the guys pretty much hated it across the board.  So I gues their target market would be mousy women who are used to pretty bad stuff.

Seriously if you are going to drink this, save yourself the trouble and have a soda or a water.


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62 Comments on “Really? 0.0 ABV Beer? From the Makers of Bud…What’s the Point?”

  1. April 27, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    Pierre Celis is rolling in his grave…

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:13 am #

      Yeah!….whoever Pierre Celis is.

      • April 28, 2011 at 9:40 am #

        Pierre Celis revived belgian witbier and got Hoegaarden back on the map before it got sold to InBev. He died this month. Know your history!

        • Don
          April 28, 2011 at 9:44 am #

          Thanks for the lesson. I knew he was the wit beer guy that died, but I didn’t know he was the one who resurrected Hoegaarden.

  2. April 27, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    I’ve had this before… it’s called sparkling water

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:14 am #

      Interestingly they said it tasted a bit like lemonade, I’m thinkin’ just drink lemonade? Right?

      • April 27, 2011 at 11:35 am #

        Just imagine the neighborhood street corners this summer – AB InBev just reinvented the lemonade stand!

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 11:37 am #

          True, kids could sell pitchers of the stuff on hot days.

  3. April 27, 2011 at 11:09 am #

    So… isn’t this just beer-flavored soda or something, if I’m understanding the concept? And if so, why not just call it soda?

    I’m really trying to understand how this product helps them in any way possible, or who it would ever appeal to.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:15 am #

      My thoughts too. There is just one word I can come up with that describes this whole endeavor…Vapid.

  4. Sara
    April 27, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    This sounds like the malt soda (brand name of Malta I think) that they serve at the Jamaican restaurant in my town. Basically, it tastes like carbonated wort, not fabulous but not bad. Although, I think Malta is probably be much darker than the Hoegaarden will be.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:16 am #

      Perhaps, but have they never heard of Coke? Really if I’m not drinking beer with alcohol in it (Say I get roped into being a Designated Driver) I’m drinking Diet Coke, not this crap.

  5. April 27, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Well, they have already proven they can make a beer with 0.0 taste. The next step is beer with 0.0 color and 0.0 carbonation. It’s all part of their master plan to eventually market tap water as beer.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:26 am #

      That makes perfect sense Alex, I can’t believe I just said that, but it does.

      • April 27, 2011 at 11:48 am #

        I am also surprised that I wrote something coherent. 😉

        This looks like a preview of what AB/InBev could do to Goose Island, i.e. taking a once-proud brewery and publicly humiliating it.

        I used to like Hoegaarden before I knew they were part of AB. It was fun to mix with Lindemann’s Framboise lambic and call it a “Dirty Hoe.”

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 11:54 am #

          That actually sounds pretty good. Now you could mix it with 0.0 and call it “no hoe”.

      • April 27, 2011 at 11:57 am #

        I like the sound of a Dirty Hoe. Of course, in these parts, we just mix a wheat beer (usually Boulevard Wheat) with lemonade and a shot of vodka for the perfect summer drink. May have to try a Dirty Hoe, though.

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

          That doesn’t sound half bad either Zac. Might have to give that one a try on the 4th.

  6. Matt M
    April 27, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Let me get this straight, a guy lovingly described by his brother as a bear is weighing in on the sissiest “beer” the world has ever seen…. what are your thoughts on maxi-pads with wings? 🙂

    I wonder if this is even fermented.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:28 am #

      Dunno, they are being pretty mum on their “Process” right now. And I like my wings with BBQ Sauce.

  7. April 27, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    The Europe thing throws me off, too. I could understand this if they were marketing it as Non-Alcoholic versions of their staple products. But is there even such a thing as a European alcoholic? I’m sure they exist but their attitudes about beer is so healthy that I don’t know who would seek this out.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:35 am #

      I thought that in Europe they had beer in their water fountains.

  8. Bill Bennett
    April 27, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    They are owned by AB Inbev, is this really that surprising?

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:36 am #

      It is just the level of stupidity Bill that gets me here. It doesn’t pass the DUH test.

  9. April 27, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    My issue with it isn’t that it’s a conspiracy to kill craft beer. But they might kill Hoegaarden. Or at least give it a healthy amount of lacerations. It seems to me that AB-InBev is shitting on a great beer brand with this product. Especially, as others have stated, since it’s being marketed in Europe. Doesn’t make sense. Not only have they watered down the beer in country where the beer drinking masses care very little for that sort of thing, but they’ve watered down the entire Hoegaarden brand. Soda labeled as beer. It’s a marketing gimmick. If they wanted to add value to the brand, why not expand into quality styles that are as good as their white ale that people already love. So bizarre. Like you said Don. Cavemen.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 11:57 am #

      I think we have examples here that they could learn from. Remember Pete’s Wicked? They killed that when Gambrinus Bought them out. I’m afraid that this will be the fate of many of the brews from Goose Island too. Idiots are calling the shots, and the cavemen will get their due.

  10. April 27, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    There is some concern in Europe over binge drinking. The current thinking is to lower ABV and try to eliminate high-ABV beers. I don’t think this is such a terrible idea. Of course, I won’t drink it, but they’re not marketing it to me.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

      Well that’s my point. Who would voluntarily drink this? Again, just have a Diet coke. It tasted better, and there are no calories.

      • April 27, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

        I think it’s a social thing. If everyone is drinking beer, it’s comforting to be part of the crowd. There’s certainly a market for this. I have a neighbor who only drinks NA beer. He’s practically a connoisseur of the stuff. I bet he’d love it.

  11. April 27, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    Slightly off topic, but I’d like to pick out one quote from your post to counter.

    “These people couldn’t brew a decent beer if their life depended on it…”

    Do you really believe this? If the big players wanted to brew good beer, they could by all means brew the very best beer in the world. With the money and clout they have, they could easily pull in the best brewers in the world and create the best beer you’ve ever tasted. They don’t make mediocre beer because they can’t make good beer, they make mediocre beer because making good beer is not highly profitable. Quality beer is and always will be a niche market. The big players know this. They’re not scared of anything that’s happening in craft brew. They’re not scared of the sum of the little breweries taking away their sales. They’re not even scared of the “big” craft breweries like Boston Brewing. No, Big Beer makes bad beer because it sells well to the masses, and the masses will never have the taste buds for good beer. These guys know what they’re doing and they do it very well, even it doing it well means making crappy beer.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

      I disagree to a point Jack. Because the profit thing will ALWAYS bee an issue to them. It is ingrained into their DNA. They can’t help it. It is like going to a grand feast that is served on paper plates with plastic silverware. These guys are GREAT at cutting corners. This would ultimately be their undoing. I think lots of people could make great beer with unlimited resources. Craft beer makes money so then why don’t they make better beer, because they can’t. They can’t bring themselves to make a great beer. So could they? Probably. Will they? Not in my lifetime.

      • April 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

        You’re actually saying the same thing that I argued, Don – that they won’t, not that they can’t. Craft beer does make money. But it doesn’t make the obscene amounts of money that mainstream beer makes. If craft beer had the potential to be as profitable as your average Man-Up Sauce, then you can bet your Cascades they would lure in the best brewers to make the best beer ever. But craft beer will never have the potential to make as much money as American Light Lager with it’s 8 IBUs and no malt profile. Because of that, they choose not to make good beer.

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

          Jack, this is a minor point, but it bears repeating. Because they won’t…they cant. I might be a fantastic artist but if horse hair gives me the creeps, I’ll never pick up the brush. They are paralyzed by their motives, thus they CAN’T make great beer. Not that they won’t…they Can’t.

  12. April 27, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    o.o% ABV beer? That’s like decaf coffee, sugar free chocolate, soy milk, nicotine free cigarettes, etc.. I understand why these products exist. But why would I want any of them? No fun. No fun at all.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      Agreed G.

  13. April 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Great-ish minds think alike! Here’s my take if anyone cares.

    I think Hoegaarden has already been diluted as a product, but to me this is another nail in the brand’s coffin.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

      Sad but true. I think Hoegaardens days are numbered. I read some of the comments on FB when you posted your opinion on the American Beer intervention, and two thoughts came to mind. First Stone is going to open a European Brewery, so that is a start, and two I’m not entirely sure they would accept it. Some of the responses seemed to think the beervolution in Europe needs to come from Germany and Chec…ahhh Check…ahhh Eastern European nations.

      • April 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm #

        It doesn’t matter what they think. 🙂 Heck, they can’t even serve British beer at a Royal wedding.

        Stone, and other American brewers will do fine I think. Supposedly, the beers they make there are going to be different than the Stone beers we see here, so perhaps there will be a Stone 0.0? Ha!

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

          I read Stone’s blog, they said they will use locally sourced ingredients, but probably American hops. They said they will be different, but they will still be Stone.

  14. April 27, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    I’d call this “Wit-less”

  15. April 27, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Seriously? That about sums it up.

    Love the big caveman analogy. Especially accurate – unfortunately, while we’re probably OK if you can stay away from them, AB InBev is making avoidance that much more challenging. Hard to hide from the caveman’s battle club when it’s big enough to take out an entire craft brewery with one purchase….er….I mean, one swing.


    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm #

      Good point, but in that case they could have avoided it all together if the Halls weren’t sellout…I mean such shrewd business men.

  16. Brian
    April 27, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    First… my opinion on Hoegaarden… I was really sad when Hoegaarden and the millions of Hoe Clones became popular (every friggin’ microbrew’s summer brew was a wit with coriander and orange peel… ). Not because I really have anything against Belgian Wits, but because suddenly it became impossible to find a good Hefeweizen and really a tall (23 oz) Hefe while sitting at an outdoor bar/cafe is just… awesome

    Second… I have to agree with Jack. “These people couldn’t brew a decent beer if their life depended on it…” not true. I can’t remember where I read it, but I read that some of the larger microbrews (regional brews?) were actually hiring folks from A-B. Because brewers at A-B are good making lots of beer very consistently. Just imagine if they had any off flavors in their beer. There is no flavor to cover it up (while admittedly an imperial stout has enough flavor to cover a few flaws). I think a truer statement would be “These people couldn’t market a decent beer if their life depended on it…” They can market frogs, twins, horses, etc, but not beer.

    Third… 0.0 ABV beer… and the ever decreasing calorie count of beer (55 it the latest, right?)… Soon we’ll have 0 Cal beer… which will be… weird. But the day that there is a 0 Cal, 0.0 ABV beer…. well that’ll just be sad (but you know it’s coming)

    • April 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

      There’s a zero calorie beer – it’s called pot.

      • Don
        April 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

        The flaw in your logic is that once you use the pot you have intense cravings for Doritos, Pickles, and Chocolate Pudding. Hence it is hardly zero calorie.

      • April 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

        Peanut butter and syrup tortillas are like Pringles. Nobody can eat just one.

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

          Wow throw some hot sauce and sweet pickles on that and you have a meal fit for Timothy Leary!

      • April 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

        I’ve seen it done with bananas. Not surprisingly, the guy works for the Sierra Club now.

    • Don
      April 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

      Brian I have to take umbrage with your second point. In your example you are taking the brewers out of the Macro brewery, and you can’t do that because the culture of the organization is what makes the machine incapable of making great brews. Individual brewers can do amazing things, but you put them into that macro culture, and the only thing they get right is making something that tastes vaguely like beer with extremely inferior ingredients and is incredibly consistent. So it is the entire package that makes them incapable of brewing great beers. If you took away all my obstacles in life I could be and Astronaut but those obstacles exist and they limit me, just as they do at the Macro Brewery.

      • Brian
        April 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

        I think the issue is that a “brewer” can mean one of three things:
        – the person who creates the recipe
        – the person who coordinates the actual process of making beer (the boil, the fermentation, etc)
        – the brewery as a whole

        In the smallest breweries, they are the same person.

        In the macro sense, they are very different people/organizations.:
        – The person who creates the recipe is the marketing guru who does taste tests and figures out which recipe will sell the most.
        – The people/person who is responsible for making (brewing) very large quantities of beer that taste exactly the same (whatever that taste is)
        – The company as a whole does whatever the management (CEO, CFO, etc) decide… which is usually what creates the most profit, which gets back to the first group, marketing.

        So yes, I would agree with you that the first and third groups are incapable of brewing a decent beer because of their goals.

        However, I think the person who is actually responsible for making the beer has the skills to make large quantities of beer consistently somewhat regardless of recipe (there are definitely exceptions, Lambics being one of the first to come to mind). This is who I was thinking when I think “brewer,” not the company as a whole.

        • Don
          April 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

          Who can argue with logic like that…oh, wait…me. No just kidding. Yes if you take the “brewer” out of the “Brewery”, and away from the “Bean Counters” then yes said person is probably capable of making tasty stuff. My point was, and is, that you must take them in combination, and when done so the sum of the parts makes a shitty whole (Kind of like a latrine…Appropriate, no?) thus the organism that is a macro brewery is incapable of making a good beer. That said if you transplant the heart of the organism into another more liberating and fun loving organism, then good things can happen.

      • Brian
        April 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

        I think kind of illustrates the point:

  17. April 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    There is no point… sorta like Crystal Pepsi.

  18. JeffX
    April 27, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Great, all the beer gut with none of the buzz…

    • Don
      April 28, 2011 at 8:35 am #

      That should be their slogan!


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