food and drink 30.10.2017 12:07 pm

Castle Free is SA’s first locally brewed alcohol-free beer

Picture: Screenshot from Castle Lager SA Facebook

Picture: Screenshot from Castle Lager SA Facebook

The South African Breweries (SAB) and AB InBev Africa are giving consumers more choice and a smarter drinking option with the introduction of the first alcohol-free beer to be brewed in South Africa.

Castle Free is South Africa’s first homegrown 0.0% alcohol beer. It is an extension of Castle Lager and offers consumers a real beer taste without the alcohol.

Then no-alcohol beer is brewed with the same local ingredients as the ‘mother brand’ Castle Lager and with the same high standards. It stays true to Castle Lager’s inherent real beer credentials – a well-balanced lager without sweetness, balanced with bitterness and astringency to make it a thirst quenching beer.

Castle Free complies with South African Legislation on labelling regulations to be called an alcohol-free beer because it contains less than 0.05% alcohol by volume (ABV) of liquid (<0.05g/100ml).

The launch of Castle Free delivers on SAB and AB InBev’s public interest commitments made to the government during the business combination process at the end of 2016 to introduce initiatives that reduce the harmful use of alcohol in South Africa. The breweries committed to introduce and promote new no- and lower-alcohol products to the market to encourage consumers to make lower-alcohol choices, including by brewing these products in South Africa.

SAB and AB InBev have made a substantial investment of more than R30 million to develop and brew Castle Free.

Smart drinking goals

AB InBev’s Global Smart Drinking Goals is aimed at fostering a culture of smart drinking amongst consumers, and reducing the harmful use of alcohol. The company has committed to ensuring that no- and lower-alcohol beer products represent at least 20% of the organisation’s global beer volume by the end of 2025.

Additionally, SAB and AB InBev have committed to invest $1 billion across the world by 2025 to promote Smart Drinking through social norms programs and innovative social marketing campaigns.

“At SAB we believe that smart drinking choices affect everyone, every day and want every experience with beer to be a positive one. As part of the Smart Drinking Goals, we are helping empower consumers to make smart drinking choices by enabling access to no- and low-alcohol options, as well as robust health information about our products,” says Doreen Kosi, vice president of legal and corporate affairs at SAB and AB InBev Africa.

The brand is a beer without the alcohol, and is targeted at men and women who are existing beer drinkers that want more freedom and choice while enjoying beer without the alcohol. Castle Free is not for sale to any person under the age of 18.

“As a non-alcohol beer, Castle Free provides people with the freedom of choice while still enjoying the taste of beer. They are able to enjoy all the sociability of a beer but without the alcohol. Castle Free enables people to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance even when consuming an alcohol-free beer,” says Vaughan Croeser, brand director of Castle Lager.

Practice of pacing

Castle Free allows consumers to practice ‘pacing’, which refers to complimenting the consumption of alcohol beers with alcohol-free beers as a means of moderation.

Pacing is an important component of moderate drinking. The practice of pacing permits for safer and smart drinking options. It allows for a lower intake of alcohol over longer periods; the body breaks down alcohol at a steady rate, therefore the accumulation of alcohol is less.

“We encourage pacing amongst consumers as a safer and smarter option. This is why our Smart Drinking Squad, who are tasked with helping to address the harmful use of alcohol, will be taking to the streets to educate people about pacing and to encourage its practice,” says Ricardo Tadeu, president of AB InBev Africa.

Castle Free is the perfect pacing drink and can be best complimented with Castle Lager, which is why a pacing pack will be introduced, which includes Castle Free and Castle Lager.

Castle Free will officially hit shelves in trade mid-November 2017, and will be available in a limited edition 250 ml sampling can, a limited edition 12-pack, a 340 ml non-returnable bottle and 500 ml can. It will be distributed to more than 4 800 taverns and 554 counter serve outlets. In addition, around 800 taverns across South Africa will be upgraded with Castle Free branding.

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