Non-alcoholic beer should contain more alcohol, says health minister

Minister thinks some of the extra ingredient would encourage drinking less of the hard stuff

The government wants to raise the level of alcohol allowed in non-alcoholic beer from 0.1 to 0.5 percent.

“It makes it taste more like beer, so the hope is that more people will choose a non-alcoholic beer rather than the regular variety,” Nick Hækkerup, the health minister, told DR Nyheder. “Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, this is a health measure.”

Hækkerup said that experience from other countries shows that sales of non-alcoholic beer go up when they contain just a little alcohol.

Game change, name change
Ulrik Becker, a professor at the National Institute of Public Health, said that the proposal is a good one if it encourages people to drink less, but a name change would be needed.

“You would have to call it something else,” Becker told DR Nyheder. “It would be the same as adding sugar to something called sugar free.”

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Becker is also concerned that the additional alcohol could affect alcoholics that are using the abstinence treatment Antabuse, but Hækkerup said that the increase would be so small that it wouldn’t be a problem.

“You would have to drink a lot to be affected,” Hækkerup said, “This gives people the opportunity to have a beer and enjoy the Danish summer while staying sober.”