The Guinness brand is undeniably one of the most well-known and iconic beer breweries, with a rich history of innovation spanning a whopping 260+ years. However, there’s never time for brands to get too comfortable in the alcohol world and new trends and changes are helping to keep big names such as Guinness on their toes and developing exciting new products. The biggest one being that the non-alcoholic market is growing at 9% a year with an expected 1.7 trillion market by 2028. With that in mind, Guinness has decided to move further into the space and have taken their iconic product and made an exact alternative of it. That product is Guinness 0.0, one of the brand’s latest creations.
Guinness as a company are very big on getting the simple things right. They focus on a flagship product, the iconic Guinness Draught and have very few variables. They have an Extra Stout option which adds carbonation and a couple of added ingredients, as well as their own lager Hop House 13. Hop House 13’s taste is similar to that of the Guinness Draught as they use the same secret yeast formula.
So with Guinness making such a move towards creating an alcoholic alternative, you can tell their intention is to keep refining and making the non-alcoholic version available to the masses.
Why Guinness Decided to Go Non-Alcoholic
Guinness Draught is the brand’s most popular beverage and is highly renowned for its smoothness and flavour. However, with more and more people turning to non-alcoholic beverages, the brand wanted to make a change and revolutionise its recipe to ensure that no one had to miss out.
And so drawing inspiration from the original 1759 recipe, the brewers were able to recreate that iconic Guinness taste without the alcoholic kick. As the Global Brand Director for Guinness explained, the step to create Guinness 0.0 was a brave and bold step, highlighting the brand’s determination for innovation and experimentation.
Ingredients of Guinness 0.0
One of the unique selling points of the Guinness 0.0 recipe is that it uses completely the same ingredients as the original Guinness Draught, but with the alcohol removed through cold filtration, which preserves the original flavour while removing the alcohol content from the beverage.
Together, this combination of ingredients and gentle processing ensures that Guinness 0.0 is sweet and malty with a slight hint of coffee, offering a balance of bitterness and roasted characters for a full-bodied flavour. Meanwhile, the smooth, creamy, and well-balanced palate helps it appeal to any beer lover – even with the 0.0% ABV.
The only downside is the addition of fructose which I am never a fan of in a stout, however it is known as being the ‘healthiest’ sweetener and doesn’t impact too much on the taste, only on the aftertaste in my opinion.
Let’s talk calories, regular Guinness draught is pretty low in calories to begin with, with only 35 calories per 100ml, partly due to its relatively low ABV. Guinness 0.0 is even lower thanks to its lack of added natural sugars which often non-alcoholic beers tend to use as a way of replacing the mouthfeel and fullness of full alcoholic beverages. Guinness 0.0 has 17 calories per 100ml.
How Is It Different From Alcoholic Guinness Draught?
The main difference between the Guinness 0.0 is its 0% ABV content, which gives it ever so slightly less warmth and less pleasant after taste. But otherwise, the beverage is almost completely the same as a standard Guinness Draught – right down to the characteristic flavours and dark ruby colour. They really did go for getting a true authentic Guinness taste, with a non-alcoholic certification.
Where is Guinness 0.0 Available?
Guinness 0.0 was initially available for a short period at the end of October 2020, before being recalled due to fears of ‘microbiological contamination’ – in other words, mouldy beer. Currently, the Guinness 0.0 drink is not yet widely available as a pub and bar draught option, but it will be available on supermarket shelves for the foreseeable future following final tests and distribution. Guinness 0.0 has also been served in the first pubs in Dublin from September 2021, offering a new way to enjoy this delicious alcohol-free beverage (even in situations where normally the only alternative to alcohol would be a soft drink).
Guinness plan to roll out the draught functionality in the UK very shortly as the demand increases specifically from the 18-30 year old demographic.
What Does Guinness 0.0 Taste Like?
When you crack the can if you close your eyes you wouldn’t know the difference, you get the classic ‘pschtt’ as the pressure is released and the nitrogen does its magic. The initial pour is very comparable to a regular can of Guinness with a creamy deep look before settling into a dark ruby colour. The taste is comparable to its big brother but slightly different, the consistency is marginally thinner, and the head settles nicely and stays as you drink. To taste you get notes of chocolate, coffee and a hint of bitterness, resulting in a short bitter, slightly sweet taste to finish.
So, is Guinness 0.0 as good as the full alcoholic version? You can’t mistake the taste, it’s undeniable Guinness. In a direct comparison a veteran Guinness drinker would be able to tell the difference but at the end of the day does it really matter? As a non-alcoholic alternative Guinness 0.0 stands strong on its own two feet. And if you were offered this over a boring soft drink at a party or social gathering, knowing that you had to drive or just wanted a night off the booze, you would take this as a first choice.
Final Thoughts: The Future of Guinness 0.0
While we can never say for sure how things will go as we look to the future, it generally seems likely that the Guinness 0.0 will continue to be met with great appeal and positive reception. Indeed, the beverage’s similar flavour combinations to the original will undoubtedly add charm to the Guinness 0.0 drink. Even when I spoke with some of the locals on my last trip to Dublin, the Guinness 0.0 was met with some hesitation, but the attention to detail for the product has helped swoon the local drinkers with some even opting for it a couple of nights a week.
As a result, it seems incredibly likely that the beverage will only continue to grow in terms of popularity and reach. We may see this unique and masterful beverage available much more often in bars and restaurants in the future. We would very much like to see the Guinness brand focus as much attention on getting the taste as close as possible to the original and after hearing some feedback from the market, maybe they can refine the taste to be as close to the real thing.