This is Carlsberg’s first foray into the alcohol-free space in Singapore, launching the products in mid-July at convenience stores, supermarkets and e-commerce platforms nationwide.
According to Olivier Dubost, general manager at Carlsberg Singapore, the launch in the country was met with positive responses. “A lot of consumers were positively surprised that alcohol-free beer tastes just like regular beer, (except) without the alcohol, and we have received very good responses to both variants.”
“As more consumers across all legal age groups proactively become more health-conscious to maintain their wellbeing, seek premium, high quality products and entertain at home, they are increasingly looking for more beverage options that are in line with their lifestyles.”
“Alcohol free beer is a positive choice that can be proudly made based on one’s autonomy.”
The Carlsberg Alcohol Free Pilsner has a refreshing and crisp hoppy bite, suitable for consumers who prefer a malty lager. It has the characteristic notes of Carlsberg’s iconic Danish Pilsner, with pine, straws, hazelnut and sorrel aromas.
The Carlsberg Alcohol Free Wheat is said to have a light and fruity wheat beer with a sweet and citrusy taste. It has the aroma of citrus and clove, is low in bitterness and ideal for consumers seeking an alternative to a carbonated soft drink.
Both products do not contain more than 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV).
Carlsberg’s global alcohol free lead, Kristoffer Lundgren said Carlsberg is the first player in Singapore to launch two alcohol free variants under a single brand to cater to audiences with different taste preferences.
It is also the first time in Singapore that Carlsberg is introducing a Wheat beer under the Carlsberg brand. Most alcohol-free offerings in Singapore are of the lager type.
Carlsberg’s alcohol free beers have a different brewing process to achieve the desired taste. For example the alcohol free Pilsner is brewed using the same ingredients as regular beer such as barley malt, hops, water, and yeast. However, a gentle heat treatment is used to remove the alcohol, while still retaining the beer flavours in the Pilsner.
For the alcohol free wheat beer, it is brewed using the same ingredients as regular wheat beer including barley malt, wheat malt, hops, water, and yeast. However, fermentation is stopped at a certain point to reach the desired alcohol level, while retaining the desired naturally sweet flavors for the wheat beer.
The alcohol free beers are manufactured in Switzerland, and contain lesser calories at 66kcal (Pilsner) and 102kcal (wheat), compared to an original Carlsberg with 189kcal and a Carlsberg Danish Pilsner (alcoholic) with 118 kcal per 330mL.
Lundgren said: “Our first priority is to have as many Singaporean consumers try it to experience the great taste, and debunk the myth that alcohol free beer is a lesser alternative to beer.”
Lundgren added alcohol-free brews are an important part of the Carlsberg Group strategy, the company hopes to make alcohol-free brews available in all its markets by 2022.
Catching on the trend
Dubost told FoodNavigator-Asia the alcohol free beer category in Europe has been growing on a double-digit growth in most countries.
“Alcohol-free beers make up 3 to 5% of the total beer category, but there are markets such as Spain and Sweden where alcohol-free beers make up 12 to 13%.”
Dubost foresees the same trend coming to Asia, where he cited Japan’s alcohol-free beers contributing about 4.4% of total beers.
“Although the category is still small in Singapore, we see a huge potential in the category. More and more consumers are becoming health conscious, further amplified by Covid-19, seeking no alcohol options to enjoy at any time of the day, that still taste great.”
In Europe, Carlsberg has its alcohol free beer brand called Carlsberg 0.0%, however it is not available in Singapore.
In Singapore, the alcohol free beers are sold in individual (330mL) cans and in 4-can packs.
Dubost observed an increase in home consumption and sales through e-commerce channels during the pandemic.
Hence, the company is focusing on e-commerce to drive its marketing and providing sampling to consumers in Singapore. For example, it is offering consumers the chance to add alcohol free beer samples to their carts when shopping online, for the price of SG$0.10 (US$0.07) for a taste sampler.
Another brewery giant Heineken also entered Singapore with its alcohol free 0.0 beer range in 2019.