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Booze-Free Beverages: The Terminology

At Bevees, we decided to coin the phrase 'booze-free' because we wanted a catchall word for all the terminology used to describe non-alcoholic beverages. You might hear the term dealcoholized, others use the phrase alcohol-free, and there is the aforementioned non-alcoholic. When we say 'booze-free' we are referring to all three. But don’t be confused by our generalization, there is a difference between the three products. And which country you are in also makes a difference in how these terms are used. The one thing that they all have in common, though, is that you cannot get drunk drinking any of them.


Dealcoholized is probably the least common of the three terms, but it also the easiest to define. A dealcoholized beverage is one that contained alcohol, but then went through a process to remove the alcohol. To be defined as dealcoholized the beverage must contain less than .5% alcohol by volume (ABV). By comparison, your typical alcoholic beer has 5% ABV, and wine has between 11% and 13%. The amount of alcohol in a dealcoholized beverage is approximately equal to what we find in fruit juice. Many beverages that are labeled dealcoholized also fall in the category of non-alcoholic. But generally speaking, alcohol-free and non-alcoholic are two different things.


A lot of the terminology is about government regulations. Here in British Columbia, where Bevees' head office is located, any beverage meant for human consumption with less than 1% ABV is considered non-alcoholic. But Federally the government has redefined non-alcoholic beer as having to have less than .5% ABV. Anything higher is considered an alcohol product. Non-alcoholic wines on the other hand, can go as high as 1.1% ABV. You should note that importers do not have to label the ABV, so some non-alcoholic wines can have a slightly higher ABV than others. The most important thing to remember here is that non-alcoholic DOES NOT mean alcohol-free. Although there are only trace amounts of alcohol, and you cannot get drunk from it, these beverages can still have some alcohol content.


The difference between alcohol-free beverages and the previous two categories is the drink has zero alcohol and was made without ever having any alcohol. Generally speaking, if fermentation is not required to make the beverage, then it likely never had alcohol to begin with. Many alcoholic beverages are derived from fermenting sugar. This makes them both high in sugar and high in calories. You will discover most of the booze-free spirits and botanicals we carry in store have zero calories. This is because they have no sugar. Despite having a little alcohol, many of the wines and beer are also very low in sugar and calories.

Less sugar and fewer calories are only two of many reasons to consider switching some or all of your beverages to booze-free ones. We promise you will get all of the delight, with none of the drunk! Drop in any day between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. to share a bevee with us! We look forward to meeting you.

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