I am an admitted non-alcohol beer skeptic. Separating a buzz from beer, to me, removes the point of the beverage. Who is this for? I ask. Well, Campbell, Calif.’s Surreal Brewing Co., Gold medal winner of the 2019 World Beer Awards International for Best Low-Alcohol Pale Ale, has an answer for dimwits like me: Athletes.
Surreal, right now, is brewing the lowest calorie line of craft non-alcoholic beer made in the U.S., which it is pitching as a great tasting recovery drink. The secret? Unlike traditional high-calorie beer which can dehydrate and hinder post-workout muscle recovery, non-alcoholic beer contains an abundance of electrolytes, antioxidants, and polyphenols with anti-inflammatory properties that are great for recovery.
When I read that, I responded with the typical “Pffff,” of philistine but it’s true – or at least plausible as a study by the University of Munich showed that German Olympic athletes who drank non-alcoholic beer after a workout recovered quicker and had fewer respiratory infections.
Scherr conducted a double-blind study, financed by a brewing company, in which he gave runners in the 2009 Munich Marathon nonalcoholic beer every day for three weeks before and two weeks after the race. These runners suffered significantly less inflammation and fewer upper respiratory infections after the race than runners who had been given a placebo.
It’s also hard to argue with these proudly displayed nutritional facts.
This messaging might take consistent, constant marketing to become common knowledge, but recovery drink is an intriguing niche to plant one’s non-alcohol beer flag into.