Regional beer maker Southern Grist wants to include every kind of customer in their offerings, even those who don’t drink alcohol. The company offer all sorts of bold flavors and beer types to customers, from stouts to sours to IPAs. So creating a funky flavored non-alcoholic beer just made sense, according to Porch Drinking.
The entire beverage industry experienced significant growth over the last few years, especially for in-home drinkers. But non-alcoholic offerings never kept up with the trend beyond the options from major players like O’Douls and Clausthaler. Southern Grist saw potential for really bold, flavorful non-alcoholic beverages that still tasted like beers but without the buzz.
Jessica Gonzales, Marketing Director at Southern Grist, said that nothing is off-limits for the company.
“We like bold flavors – nothing’s really off-limits for us – and we wanted to bring the same mentality to our non-alcoholic beers,” she said. “Starting with the fruited sour was more of us showing off our personality, while we knew we’d be able to reach more people with the pilsner.”
Southern Grist first released Parallel, a fruited sour beer bursting with raspberry and passionfruit. If you’re thinking that this beer just tastes like carbonated fruit juice, think again. On the nose, Parallel delivers fruity tones and a fresh finish; on the palette, beer drinkers will still enjoy that sour, hoppy flavor of a craft-brewed exotic.
The company’s second release was Company Pils, a light and crispy NA pilsner with a touch of honey. Some caramel maltiness and floral undertones also elevate this non-alcoholic option beyond the typical “light beer” fares that the industry currently produces for the non-drinking crowd.
Southern Grist non-alcoholic beer requires more steps than regular beer brewing
Similar to their alcohol business model, Southern Grist’s NA business uses rotating taps instead of flagship brews. In other words, the company produces the offering for a limited time and then retires the option for a while — or forever. Southern Grist did say that they want to expand their NA choices beyond just Parallel and Company Pils, but they will stick with what works in the short-term future.
Be warned, though: non-alcoholic does not mean less expensive, just as it does not mean less flavor or drinkability. Many craft beer consumers equate alcohol content with price as a measure of purchase value. But companies price beverages based upon operating costs, and usually a NA beer costs more to produce than an alcohol beer.
In the cases of Parallel and Company Pils, Southern Grist works with Wisconsin-based brewery Octopi to develop the recipes; brew the beer as they normally would (with alcohol); and then use Octopi’s specialty equipment to remove the alcohol.
Southern Grist is one of the first craft beer brewers to market in Nashville with a robust selection of NA offerings. The company will ship to any lower-48 state, though, as long as the state allows alcohol shipments.