Want the taste of craft beer without the hangover? MadTree Brewing is now offering its first ever non-alcoholic beer, becoming one of the first major Cincinnati-based breweries to delve into the non-alcoholic beer scene.
MadTree has announced that customers can now order Leave No Trace, which tastes like a pale ale without the alcohol. It will be available exclusively at the MadTree Taproom.
“Non-alcoholic” beer can contain up to 0.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), whereas truly alcohol-free beer must contain no detectable levels of alcohol and should be labeled 0.0% ABV, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Leave No Trace has 0.5% ABV.
“We’re keeping track of what people want, and we’re definitely seeing an increased interest in seltzers and non-alcoholic beers,” Trevor Self, associate brand manager for MadTree, told CityBeat. “It has to be appealing and taste good. If we are going to do this, we want to do this right. It has to be enjoyable for the consumer.”
The team worked for months on developing the non-alcoholic pale ale “with some hoppy notes that aren’t overpowering,” Self says.
The beer’s name is a play on MadTree’s commitment to sustainability and “leaving no trace behind” when campers leave a campground or park, while connecting it to the idea of having “no trace” of alcohol in the beer. MadTree donates 1% of sales to nonprofits focused on environmental sustainability, and the brewery was responsible for planting more than 2,000 trees in 2020.
According to market research firm IRI, U.S. sales of non-alcoholic beer were up 38% in 2020 to roughly $188 million in total sales, even as regular beer sales have declined in the past four years. MadTree’s team said the brewery and bar industries are affected significantly during Dry January, a month when many people take a break from alcohol after indulging during the holiday season.
“People are more health-conscious but still want to be social. We want to give them an option to drink something different and go out with their friends without feeling like they’re missing out,” Self says.
“What we’re seeing is a moderation trend. That’s bringing with it increased demand for reduced alcohol, or alcohol-free drinks,” says Mark Meek, chief of global beverage market analysis company IWSR, in a news release.
MadTree is one of the first Cincinnati-based breweries to try a non-alcoholic option. Scotland-based BrewDog, which has a taproom in Pendleton, does offer a couple of low ABV brews. Representatives from breweries like Listermann Brewing Company and Rhinegeist Brewery said there were no plans in the near future to add any non-alcoholic options to their brewing schedules, but smaller breweries in the region say they’re interested in the concept.
“We definitely get people asking for NA (non-alcoholic) beer, but we haven’t pulled the trigger just yet. It may be something we do early 2022,” a representative from Esoteric Brewing says in an email. “We’re really intrigued by the NA beer option. The beer industry is simply adapting to the trend of healthy lifestyles.”
MadTree, 3301 Madison Road, Oakley, madtreebrewing.com.
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