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Jan. 26, 2019, 10:44 a.m. EST

A beer for the sober set

Just in time for Dry January, a Dutch brand launches an alcohol-free version in the U.S.

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By Charles Passy


Heineken
Heineken is positioning its alcohol-free beer as one that doesn’t stint on flavor.

The bottle: Heineken 0.0 , $9.99 per six-pack

The back story: In case you haven’t heard the news, we’re in the midst of Dry January, when many Americans give up alcohol for a month as a healthy way to kick off the new year. It also is the month, perhaps not coincidentally, that the giant Dutch beer brand Heineken /zigman2/quotes/206351165/delayed HEINY +1.08% has come out with a nonalcoholic beer in the U.S., Heineken 0.0.

Actually, the product is already well-established elsewhere in the world. The beer was launched in 2017 in the Netherlands and Germany and is now available across Europe and Australia. It is a sip designed to tap (no pun intended) into the growing thirst for no-alcohol options. A study by Global Market Insights, a research firm, projects that the market for these beers will double globally to around $25 billion annually by 2024.

A report by beer website Brewbound also noted that in addition to Heineken, other brands are jumping on the alcohol-free bandwagon — most notably, the hipster favorite Pabst Blue Ribbon. And that’s to say nothing of the emergence of alcohol-free “spirits” or even the rise of the booze-free bar.

For its part, Heineken is positioning its alcohol-free beer as one that doesn’t stint on flavor: “With Heineken 0.0, there’s finally a zero-alcohol brew that delivers on taste and never compromises on quality, so consumers can now enjoy a beer whenever they want, wherever they want,” says Jonnie Cahill, chief marketing officer of Heineken’s U.S. division. (The Heineken brand Buckler, launched three decades ago, is listed as 0.5% alcohol by volume.)

What we think about it: In a world of full-flavored craft beers, we sometimes forget the appeal of Heineken, an easy-to-drink brew that delivers the right degree of crispness. That is pretty much true for the no-alcohol version, too. This is not a rock-your-world sip, but a simple and tasty one — the brand says it is characterized by “refreshing fruity notes and soft malty finish.”

How to enjoy it: Admittedly, we’re inclined to think of this as a good choice for warm-weather days and outdoor events. But the brand says the no-alcohol beer pairs well year-round with such popular foods as sushi and burgers.

/zigman2/quotes/206351165/delayed
US : U.S.: OTC
$ 51.74
+0.55 +1.08%
Volume: 24,425
Nov. 18, 2019 3:45p
P/E Ratio
27.43
Dividend Yield
1.44%
Market Cap
$58.54 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
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Charles Passy is a Wall Street Journal reporter and frequent MarketWatch contributor based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @CharlesPassy.

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