Lower calorie, lower ABV’s bevs are no fad, and more choices are coming to St. Louis

Beer Of The Week

So, a month ago, I suffered a heart attack, and since then I’ve had to make some significant changes in what I eat and drink. I’m doing great in my recovery.

That said, the changes I’m making coincide with changes I’m following in the beverage world, and although, I’m not telling anyone how to live their lives, I wanted to make sure you knew and were aware of the recent surge of lower ABV options and the proliferation of wellness beverages, coupled with a more health-conscious generation of drinkers. Add Cannabis-infused thinking and non-alcohol brewing, and it’s a new game.

There are a lot of options for anyone looking for new options, and I wanted to know what our local craft brewers had to say on the topic. I reached out to many and wanted to share their responses with you.

Overall, how has all this new thinking influenced what you’re doing now, or could influence what you could be doing in 2020 and beyond.

Stuart Keating from Earthbound Beer

I am a very lazy brewer so I jump at the chance to make a 4% beer.  I really like low ABV beers and am glad they are catching on (again). We have greatly expanded our NA options in the taproom and Ryan keeps a low-ABV cocktail on the menu at all times.  Our goal is to have a mix for everyone.

James Rogalsky from Old Bakery Beer

We’ve been throwing the idea around of doing a few things, but have yet to really commit for various reasons:

Low-abv beer (2-4% abv). No reason we haven’t started doing this, except consumer resistance. We’ve done some low-4% abv beers in the past, and they haven’t sold all that well. We have a few things coming into the works that I hope can change that, but we’ll see.

NA beer: I don’t know of a way to do this with our current equipment that would result in a drinkable product, so we’ve stayed away from it. And once again, the market seems limited for it

Gluten-free beer: Same as concerns over NA beer.

Alcoholic seltzers: We’re limited to creating alcohol from grain sources. We can’t bring in any sugar and ferment it. It has to be from grain. That said, I’ve been having a hard time sourcing organic corn sugar that would be suitable for a hard seltzer. I’m still working on this. We’ll see.

CBD/Hemp beers: I haven’t jumped on the CBD wagon yet. I’ve tried it several times, and I think it may be snake oil.. But, OBB’s former sales rep actually left to start his own CBD tincture company, and has talked to me about a collaboration. I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question, but I’m skeptical of it in general. All that said, I’ve been told that the TTB isn’t allowing breweries to brew with CBD?

Justin Harris from Saint Louis Hop Shop

It has been really eye opening for us to see such a demand for more health conscious items. Due to such demand we are actually adding a non-alcohol section to the store. That area will carry a number of items from cbd-infused soft drinks to kombucha and non-alcoholic beers.

Low carb and low-calorie craft options are something folks like me are seeking. Do you have low-calorie options currently on your menu? If yes, what are they?

Ashley Troutman from Urban Chestnut Brewing

Urban Chestnut Brewing Company’s first foray into non-alcoholic, craft beverage production came early this year, with the introduction of UCBC Sparkling Hop Water. Infused with American hops, it’s unsweetened and naturally free of both alcohol and calories.

A couple of major updates to the release: we are currently offering three different flavors in 16oz cans (original, ginger, and grapefruit). All of the Hop Waters are available for purchase at our three Taste Rooms. We are still in the consumer test phase so we don’t have a definitive release date on wide distribution quite yet, but I’ll keep you posted on that.

Justin Harris from Saint Louis Hop Shop

Yes, we carry a number of low calorie and low carb options. We started to see that trend begin a couple of years back with brands like Seaquench from Dogfish Head and then Sippin’ Pretty from  Odell Brewing Company. Now a lot of breweries are starting to add hard seltzers to their line ups.

James Rogalsky from Old Bakery Beer

We mostly brew session beers, so none of them are gonna be what you would call high-calorie beers. I think they’re typically in the range of 150-250 calories per pint. When we drop the ABV, the calories drop too. So, as we get into lower and lower ABVs, we’ll see some lower calorie options on our menu.

If you don’t currently have a low cal, low carb option, is it something that you are considering. If not, why?

Stuart Keating of Earthbound Beer

We don’t really worry about the calorie content of beer–it’s like ice cream.  Calories are part of the bargain.  Generally the lower the ABV the lower the calories, so when we brew a 3.5% or 4% beer that’s about as close as we get.

Amanda Mikoly of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

As a beer industry professional, I am constantly looking at my carb intake. It’s part of my job in QA so finding the balance is incredibly important. Don’t get me wrong, I love drinking beer, but everything in moderation.

What are your thoughts on low/no ABV craft beer brewing, and how can it or will it fit into your future?

Justin Harris from Saint Louis Hop Shop

Just like anything, its a time and place for everything. I myself have been particularly fond of Well-Being. They’re was a stretch of the summer where I was kinda burnt out on being buzzed. I still had a taste for beer, but not so much the effects, I started drinking Well-Being beers, the Heavenly Wheat to be specific.

Stuart Keating of Earthbound Beer

I’m excited about NA brewing and really enjoy Wellbeing.  I have significantly cut back my own alcohol consumption and will gravitate towards low ABV options (especially traditional low abv European styles) if I’m out drinking and planning on having more than two beers.

James Rogalsky from Old Bakery Beer

A big part of my weight loss & personal health has been based on cutting down my alcohol consumption. I know, it’s weird for a craft brewery owner to limit alcohol consumption, but I gotta do what’s right for me! So, I think low-abv is a great idea for craft breweries. Using quality malts, plenty of hops, and high mash temperatures, we can mimic higher abv beers without the alcohol. We’re working on some ideas.

Amanda Mikoloy of Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

I think that low to no ABV has a place in craft beer brewing. I look at it as an “inclusive” option for people trying to cut down on alcohol or for older generations that only want a beer then normally switch to something else. I see it as an alternative for designated drives as well as maybe pregnant women that still have cravings for hops or malty goodness.

More Choices For St. Louis

Just in recent months, we’ve seen an influx of releases of new low-calorie beverages, crafted locally and linked to some of the top brewers in our town.

Easy Peasy Hard Tonic, launches in St. Louis


A new local St. Louis beverage company, Easy Peasy Hard Tonic, is launching its first product to market.  The woman-owned business’ first product is Easy Peasy Mango Squeezy, a 5% hard tonic made with natural flavors.

Easy Peasy Hard Tonic is consistent with other alcoholic seltzer-like products on the market by containing just 100 calories per serving, with zero added sugars and is gluten-free.

“We made sure to source our ingredients from local businesses since we wanted to be consistent in providing a local hard tonic versus national brands,” said Owner and Chief Tonic Officer, Danielle Langeneckert. Langeneckert’s husband Derrick is the owner and head brewer of Alpha Brewing in south St. Louis.

The first flavor to hit the shelves will is mango, and the company expects to release more flavors in the coming months, including grapefruit and tangerine.

New whiskey inspired apéritif available online in exploding low ABV market

Haus Unveils Bitter Clove, A Whiskey Inspired Apéritif

On their website, the folks at Haus, write that they “designed Haus to have less alcohol than liquors so you could enjoy it with friends without having to keep tabs on your intake.” They are also interested in bringing back what they call apéritif culture.

The word “ apéritif” in French, means “to open,” and it literally means to open your evening. Haus is an American version with more natural flavors and with 15% alcohol by volume (about a third of whiskey, gin or tequila) it’s enough for a hangout, without getting hungover.

The newest addition to the Haus portfolio is called Bitter Clove.

Schlafly launches ‘Boomerang’ a mead spritzer with only 90 calories

Schlafly Beer, is releasing Boomerang, a line of mead spritzers in 12-ounce cans.

At only 90 calories with zero added sugar, Schlafly’s Boomerang Mead Spritzer is intentionally crafted with exactly three natural ingredients – water, honey and natural citrus flavor. The new sparkling beverage offers an all-natural alternative to the current growing hard seltzer market.

Boomerang will be the first mead spritzer in St. Louis. Boomerang will launch with a lemon-lime flavor (with others in the works). It will be available in 6-packs cans across Schlafly’s distribution.

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