If the rise of everyday activewear has taught us anything, it’s that more and more people around Australia are living a more active lifestyle (or at least that’s what they want us to think).
This continued emergence of a greater sense of healthy living, along with some inspiration from the other side of the globe, that has created a platform for beers catering for more active, health conscious individuals.
We've already reported on the rise of alcohol-free beers a number of times in 2020, but now there are beverage companies looking to take things a step further, creating what they believe are healthy, non-alcoholic beers suited for athletes post exercise.
UpFlow Brewing Collective and Domea have each released a range of sports beers, with both spruiking the health benefits of their products compared to a regular full strength beer.
Domea’s Barry Thomas said the inspiration for their beer, Zero+ (pictured above), brewed at Holgate Brewhouse, came from watching similar products thrive in America, Germany and other parts of Europe.
“We first started to think of the idea two years ago when we were seeing the emergence of non-alcoholic beers and sports beers in the US and parts of Europe, particularly in Germany,” he told The Crafty Pint.
“While they were being consumed by athletes, there was no brand that really catered to these athletes and that represented these athletes.”
Business partner Chris Warwick-Smith says their own active lifestyle began to shape the idea into reality.
“The original stimulus captured our imagination because we’re all very active people who love their sport, much like the majority of Australians,” Chris says.
“When we looked at the relationship between sport and beer in Australia, we realised the two obviously go hand in hand, but especially after playing sport there are a number of downsides to having an alcoholic beer. We love that we’re promoting and producing what is essentially a healthy product.”
A similar catalyst helped create one of Australia’s other sports beers, produced by UpFlow (pictured above).
A partnership between UpFlow owner Julian Sanders and Melbourne craft beer mainstay Chris Menichelli blossomed, leading to the development of a beer that could better fit into a more active, less time-rich lifestyle.
Chris, founder of bottleshop-meets-bar Slowbeer, pointed to a shift in his life helping him see the need for a new range of hypotonic sports beers.
“I’m at a stage in my life where drinking full strength craft beers all the time is not very realistic,” he says, laughing.
“Non-alcoholic beer fits into my lifestyle a bit better. How sports beer fits into that is being able to give back to your body after exercise while still being able to scratch the beer itch.
“I’m trying to be a bit more active, more healthy. I go for a long ride on the weekend and feel great. Afterwards, I might want to jump in and have a beer to celebrate my effort but there can definitely be a sense of guilt with having a full strength beer. Having a hypotonic beer takes that away to an extent.”
While the need to create a healthy beer was high on the priority list for both UpFlow and Domea, being able to create an enjoyable beer trumped all other goals.
Chris Warwick-Smith speaks about wanting to create an amazing tasting beer and the importance of partnering with a brewery like Holgate.
“Our success is going to come down to the quality of the beer. No one is going to drink a sports beer that doesn’t deliver in its promise,” he says.
“That’s been one of the most pleasing things over the first eight weeks the beer has been out – we’ve had some really positive responses in terms of the taste and the beer itself.
“We partnered with Holgate for a number of reasons, the primary one being Paul [Holgate]’s ability to produce high quality beers.
“By going with Paul, we knew he had the facilities, capacity and capability to make something special, along with his own want to partner with us. It’s a great location and a great brewery.”
These sentiments are echoed by Chris Menichelli.
“People still want to be able to enjoy themselves," he says, "so creating a full flavoured beer is paramount."