Have you ever wondered if why that 0.5% ABV non-alcoholic beer is labelled alcohol-free even if it does contain some alcohol?
Thankfully the variety, quality and quantity of non-alcoholic and low alcohol drink options is increasing, meaning it's easier than ever to limit your alcohol intake. However, with such variety on the market, it's more important than ever to understand what those little numbers on your beer mean.
Alcohol By Volume
If you were in doubt what ABV meant, we've just told you! It's essentially the percentage of alcohol (ethanol) in a volume of liquid. For beers, ales, lagers and ciders it ranges from typically 4-6%, wines come in at 12-14% and spirits 35-60%.
Considered as alcoholic if the ABV is equal to, or above 1.2%.
In the UK, drinks containing up to 0.5% ABV can be considered as de-alcoholised and there are no restrictions to buy or sell such products. In Europe and the USA, this can be considered and labelled as alcohol-free.
Considered as alcohol-free in the UK and the amount of alcohol is generally considered as a trace amount.
Alcohol-free wherever you go in the world, or so you would think. However, to add to the confusion, drinks with 0.05% ABV can be labelled as 0.0% ABV. Heineken 0.0 has up to 0.05% ABV and can be legally labelled as such as 0.05% ABV is considered a trace amount.
Alcohol in everyday products
Sober or not, it's highly improbable you have gone a day without some alcohol in your diet since you were born. Alcohol is present in everyday food items such as fruits, yoghurts and even breads.
Burger Rolls 1.9%ABV
Grape Juice 0.86% ABV
Apple Juice 0.26% ABV
Orange Juice 0.2% ABV
Ripe Bananas 0.02% ABV
Thanks to the lack of international food and beverage laws and in some cases some clever marketing, the terminology around low, non and zero alcoholic beverages remains a little confusing. We do hope with the growing Temperance community and more choice on the market, breweries and governments alike will work together to help standardise things. Fingers crossed!