The Big Drop Brewing Story – Non Alcoholic & Gluten Free Beer


welcome friends welcome back we are not
in the kitchen today we are in the Distillery District in Toronto and we
are talking about non-alcoholic beer non-alcoholic beer so this is big drop
brewing please tell me a little bit more about it okay big drop brewing is the
company I started in November 2016 okay was when we released our first beer
I for my sins used to be a lawyer oh yeah for my sins but my job was
largely marketing so I met with clients and I worked in the city of
London which has for those who don’t know a very big boozy culture a lot of
pubs a lot of bars a lot of restaurants and my job was to be in those pubs and
bars and restaurants all day and a lot of evenings and then I had my first son
2014 and I just decided for six months that I would not drink because tiny
little baby yeah I want to be a 21st century dad changed nappies tell bedtime
stories give it a bath and frankly you can’t do that if you’ve been in the pub
yes drinking innumerable pints of beer so I
stopped but I love beer I love craft beer ok great tasting beer
and I still had to go out with my clients I couldn’t just say I’m not
gonna go to the pub for six months yeah that was my job terrible job though that
sounds so I would go in and in as you well know we’ve had a craft beer
revolution how many great tasting beers so many great tasting bill yeah and I’m
going into these pubs and I said I’m not gonna drink any of them and you can get
pale ales and lagers and ales and stouts and everything under the Sun and when I
say I’m not drinking can I have a non-alcoholic beer after they stop
laughing there’s not much choice they hand me the mass-produced a macro lager
and yeah it’s always lager which some of them are okay some of them aren’t very
good at all yeah but the point was is that I don’t particularly enjoy lager as
a style I drink a few lawyers in the summer when it’s hot yeah but I drink
Pale Ales and stamps is my favorite style of beer and I just thought to myself hang on a
minute you look at these taps these kegs these bottles in the fridges the
innovation that’s gone on in beer over the last 10 15 20 years is is
outstanding a huge amount of change and a lot more focus on flavor and what it
tastes like and market segmentation absolutely making sure that everybody
has something that they like exactly making sure everyone’s got something
that they like their styles are available yeah why say I to myself has
this not happened in non-alcoholic beer yeah
so I spent time researching it and looking into it trying all of the
different non-alcoholic beers that I could find and I still couldn’t find a
good pay lot couldn’t find any Pale Ales but couldn’t find any set out so I
couldn’t find any sort of English sales that were non-alcoholic and so the short
conclusion to that is I decided to do it myself
and so were you were you a brewer yourself from do home brew
no never fine brewed I personally have never brewed a point of beer in my life
concept guy concept guy so cool question number one can it be done yes
has it not been done because you can’t do it as someone who brews at home I
find it very hard to brew a low alcohol beer yeah yeah and I wrote some emails
to some brewing consultants there’s plenty of people out there that hold
themselves out as brewing consultants yep and I’ve saved one email from a guy
who wrote back and said I could do this for you but I’m not going to because I
would feel bad taking your money this is a terrible idea
so I’ve saved that email I haven’t I haven’t written back to him yeah but
that’s some advice I pay you yeah yeah thank you for the advice but I’ll tell
you but no you didn’t want to do it so eventually I found and I didn’t have the
money to build a brewery didn’t I need to go to brewery but eventually I found
a company that had set up a great great concept
a small 700 liter kit in a railway arch in East East End of London I went down
to them I know nothing I knew nothing about how to even sell beer let alone
make it that’s why I wanted to do a very small trial runs tests throughs and they
said yeah you can you know you pay them a fee yep you get 700 liters which is
about a pallet of beer yep great do you know anybody who could develop a recipe
for me and they went yeah sure that guy that
guy that guy not him okay who’s not other guys at the brewery now okay yeah
crazy wild haired bearded guy who went and spoke to and you could tell
immediately he went oh yeah no one’s done that before have they yeah yeah
okay let’s give it a go okay off he goes and he develops the first beer that we
released was was the stouts and then which is this one here this one a dark
nor yes so in we will not get into the vagaries of Canadian labeling
regulations okay because even as a lawyer I find that
tedious but for reasons cannabis special Canada is very special I love it deeply
but not as regards your label regulations of young alcoholic beer yep
you’re not I’m not allowed to call that a stout even though it is a stout yes we
brew it just like normal beer is there is there is no artificial extraction
processes that go on to remove alcohol from okay just Brutus okay so I think
that’s an important point yeah this is brewed at 0.5 yes 4.4 we’d have to tweak
you slightly for Canada so it’s brewed at point four it’s not it’s not brewed
full strength and then something is removed no and and that was the that is
a really important distinction between what we do and what a lot of the other
certainly what them big conglomerates doing cuz they’re brewing a full beer
and they brew full beer and then you can heat it which is terrible because it
just destroys flavor yeah you can if you can filter it so you push the beer
through a filter and alcohol remains on one side but of course you also leave
flavors and aromas behind as well yeah you can vacuum distill it which is
essentially heating it but because you heat it in a vacuum
you only need to heat it at room temperature so it doesn’t it doesn’t
mess with the flavors yeah yeah all of these things kind of work okay if you’re
making a lager which is that beer that I was drinking when I’d given up drinking
when I hate my son yeah because don’t get me wrong great pills and as we
know is one of the greatest tests of the Brewers skill yep
without a doubt but lager because inherently doesn’t have much flavor its
crisp its bitter it’s dry you can do those processes without damaging it too
much too much you want to make a Pale Ale it hop aromas if you want to make a
you would lose all that and lose all that all that yeah so we brew it to
strength never goes above naught point four in the process okay we don’t use
halted fermentation which is another process that you can use whereby you
that would leave it really sweet that leads it really sweet UEFI can be
drinking the water yeah we don’t do that fully brewed the whole process we use a
particular strain of yeast and that’s the thing that nobody ever finds out yep
which is not very good at converting to sugar into alcohol it’s not it’s not an
aggressor it’s not an aggressive oh yeah yeah we use less grain to start with
less sugar equals less alcohol and we also add lactose to all of our beers
apart from the lager which we don’t have here today because of the lactose is and
unfermented sugar is is really replacing the alcohol to give the beers mouthfeel
gives you it fills your mouth with a with with that feeling that gives you a
smile it makes you smile yeah it’s that it’s that thing that makes you feel like
you’ve got something okay so I want I I don’t think a lot of people maybe
realize that yeast is a very important part of the process it and most Brewers
and distillers have proprietary yeast yeah and they don’t tell anybody what it
is and that is the secret sauce that’s the secret sauce that is that is really
what what makes this work absolutely okay
one of the difficult or taste the beers in a moment obviously but this is a sour
we were asked all the time can you make an alcohol free sour so I was very
popular beer in the UK I don’t know the extent it was just gaining a try yeah so
all the time can you make an alcohol free so the particular yeast or
bacterial strain and sour that makes it sour is lactobacillus you know all this
obviously I’m sure most of you your viewers do as well that is a very
aggressive yeast show it some sugar Scott all yeah
yeah the back yeah doesn’t work for us so we’ve we’ve really had a number of
iterations of our Sauer and we’ve landed it something that you know we
unapologetically quite happily called an entry-level Sauer this is not drinking
face like you’re sucking eleven and that’s another I guess we’ll get to that
when we when we start yeah tasting them and we’re gonna we’re gonna
taste through all of the beers a lot of breweries a lot of craft breweries
really want to make beers that like hit you with a baseball bat or clean at bat
like they want to they want to knock you out and those aren’t those are not
entry-level beers those are not beers that are approachable no are you trying
to make approachable beers are you where are you what do you think you’ll and in
that in that strata what I always say is that our beers should be light
iterations of the style so you should drink a beer and understand that what
you’re drinking is a Pale Ale is that forest out or whatever yeah you don’t
drink out there and think you’re drinking a 7% beer and I’m never going
to try and convince you that you’re drinking a 7% beer but we have had blind
tastings where we put particularly something like this sit or IPA up
against other like three and a half to four percent you guys in that category
yep and just said right try these beers I like that one I like that one right
tell me what you think the ABV Tzar three four three and a half and then you
say that’s noir point five and well yeah so it’s very much intended that they are
reflective of the style that we’re trying to do okay
versions so you are just entering the Canadian market yes what are the markets
are you in obviously the UK so in the UK we were happily have good distribution
in the UK and then the Netherlands good market for us and Scandinavians so we
sell in Norway Sweden and Finland and Denmark in the Nordics the Nordics a
pedantic burlaps yeah it’s the ex lawyer in me we’re just
about to open up in Australia and we sell into Hong Kong Singapore and South
Korea cool so we have good news global distribution New Zealand New Zealand I
think the opportunities there okay so just as much as it is anywhere
else I think we’ll use our Australian brewing capability to hopefully use that
as a springboard into New Zealand yeah happily go on a business trip to New
Zealand where do you see this beer fitting into the the grander scheme of
beer bars pubs I mean it it’s a low alcohol beer but it’s not a
non-alcoholic beer yeah this isn’t a zero zero percent beer okay it’s at
point four point five by virtue of the fact that we produce strength but we see
that I personally see it fitting in with the sort of spectrum of craft beers I
always say we make good craft beer and then I pause that happens to be
non-alcoholic so I love beer but I drink big job but that’s that’s okay it’s a
craft beer yeah so my vision my overall vision for the brand for the beer
company is that we should be able to go into a bar or pub together and you’ll
order a pint of Guinness my friend ruled our planet Stella and I’ll order a pint
a big drop mm-hmm but nobody blinks nobody minds because we’re all just
drinking a nice minor bit just having a beer yeah that’s it and and I just I
want it to sit in in that so you’re you’re positioning yourself as a new
category of beer in the pub yeah I think I think so
yeah and and I think more and more particularly with the on trade what we
found in the UK and in Europe is then this cat who’s been led by the off-trail
led by supermarkets okay big Maltese are driving this because they’ve seen the
trends towards people just drinking a bit less alcohol and they are supporting
that I think it’s the entrees I can’t speak for Canada
it’s the on trade in the UK and in Europe that’s being a little bit left
behind and still saying we sell beer and wine wine why do we need to sell
anything else and but actually I think you’re getting more demand for this now
we are seeing that don’t catch up cool so come on back for the tastings we’re
going to taste through five of your offerings five days thanks for
stopping by see you again soon you


17 Responses

  1. Glen & Friends Cooking

    January 13, 2020 4:27 pm

    Thanks for watching everyone! Have you tried any Non Alcoholic beers? More details about this series in the ^^^description box^^^
    Full Big Drop Brewing Playlist:

  2. Tom Loohuis

    January 13, 2020 4:46 pm

    Interesting to see this Glen! Im from the netherlands and the supermarkets started selling this about year and a half ago. I like beer but i dont like the alcohol 🙂

  3. Richard Westmoreland

    January 13, 2020 4:51 pm

    I've not tried these. Franziskaner does a nice low alcohol wheat beer which is delicious. Nanny State by Brewdog is another good one. I tend to gravitate to these if I'm going to a party or BBQ and need to drive.

  4. Alan Buller

    January 13, 2020 5:48 pm

    Hi Glen. I just watched the series of videos and came back to the start to comment. With all the societal changes ( long overdue ), this is fantastic. I have never been a fan of the large corporate low alcohol beers that are available. I will be heading to the LCBO to pick up some Big Drop Pale (Pale Ale) and Dark (Stout). BTW, on the LCBO website and in defiance of the labelling rules, they are referring to them as Pale Ale and Stout.

  5. Kinkajou1015

    January 13, 2020 6:54 pm

    I just finished the series, really interesting. I don't like beer but I still enjoy the story and hearing opinions. I'm just still shocked at 6 videos in one day.

  6. Kat Burns

    January 13, 2020 7:11 pm

    It's so nice to see more low ABV beers that taste great! I love beer but sometimes I just can't handle a 8% bevvie.

  7. majuss06

    January 13, 2020 8:39 pm

    So i had to come to Canada to find out about good beer alternatives in Norway. I'll actually think I'll try a couple of these.

  8. Mark Gaudry

    January 13, 2020 11:34 pm

    I don't like alcohol or soda pop. But I do like N/A's. I am forever trying to track down good one's like this, but in my area of the States, I can't find them because if there is no alcohol, no one wants them. I did find Erdinger. They have a strong presence in Germany in pro sports. But they are wheat beers, not stouts. Kaliber is in England, but I can't figure out what it is. I just want a flavourful N/A ale but no one is selling one here in the States. So how hard would it be to import Big Drop N/A's from Canada to the States?


    January 15, 2020 12:59 am

    Fun story! I love people who have ideas that make others go "what? why would you do that?" I understand the appeal of non-alcoholic beer but personally won't be drinking it anytime soon.


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