As you read this, you might still be recovering from Christmas.
After all the excess, of food, chocolate coins and booze, many of us might take a break. New Year new you, right? You may not be going into a full Dry January, but there’s every chance you’ll cut back (a little).
Going dry in Jan, or any month/week for that matter, isn’t as much of a wasteland of poor options as it once was. Just a few short years ago, if you weren’t drinking, your options were cola, Becks Blue or water, if we’re to overly simplify matters. There wasn’t range because there wasn’t the demand.
But in the last few years the low-or-no alcoholic beer market has blown up. In the US, in 2019, just 5% of Dry January participants drank non-alcoholic beers but that number jumped up to 29% in 2022.
More and more beer drinkers when opting for a non-alcoholic beverage are going for AF beers over soft drinks. And with a growing market, especially one made up of consumers who know good beers when they try them, breweries have had to dedicate increasing care and attention to AF options; either developing them in the first place, improving what they’ve got or ensuring they aren’t an afterthought.
In 2022, we wanted to make sure we were giving consumers the options they wanted and, last January, we re-launched Holy Faith. And holy hell did people like it. We gave Faith the AF twist back in 2021 as a one-off but last year we brought it back, better than ever.
Holy Faith is starting to build a reputation and more and more bottle shops and pubs are requesting it to bolster their low-or-no range of beer options.
This spurred us on. Holy Heathen soon followed, and we were again blown away by the positive feedback. Holy Heathen has returned for January 2023, so get it while you can.
These weren’t our first forays in low or AF beers. Striding Edge, one of our ever-present classic beers, comes in at only 2.8% and is a testament that low doesn’t mean low in taste. Not anymore.
We’ve been really impressed too by what others are doing, like Mash Gang who specialise in low-or-no-alcohol beers. You’ll probably be familiar with them; we’ve collaborated with them on two of Leimai Lemaow’s Patrons Project beers, 28.03 Gary’s Fizzy Army and 28.04 Turbo Rave Love – both of which were 2.4%. We also guested on one of MG’s own beers, Transcendence.
Mash Gang started life during lockdown and have exploded onto the scene with their bold, trippy artwork and bloody nice beers. If you’ve not tried any of theirs before, you should definitely seek them out. They are looking to lead the way in truly epic non-alcoholic craft beer.
Us and Mash Gang is a collab you’re likely to see more of. We’ve already brough back Gary's Fizzy Army re-imagined as a 0.5%er, we've partnered with them on a supermarket exclusive, Self-Titled (A Deal With The Devil), pictured above and available in Morrisons, and we’ll be helping out Mash Gang with a very special birthday brew of their own very soon.
The AF options out there aren’t just lagers anymore. What was once a boring landscape of watery lagers in blue branding, is now awash with AF pales, stouts, sours and porters. Which makes sense. Not everyone likes their beers light or hazy. Some people always strive for the dark side and why shouldn’t they have the same choice?
We felt it was time to look at our stouts and where we can offer something to those cutting down or cutting out. We turned to our big beautiful annual release, Death.
A few months ago we released Holy Death a non-alcoholic imperial stout. An AF imperial stout might sound like bollocks, but we think we pulled it off! If you had it, we bet you were pleasantly surprised. If you weren’t, well, let us try again.
In December, we brought you Holy Heaven. The 0.5% version of our annual treat alongside our traditional Heaven release. The 0.5% version meant those cutting back had the chance to try a little piece of Heaven themselves.
The demand for NOLO beers isn’t going to drop any time soon, and we’re excited about exploring and experimenting more. One experiment we were really proud of in 2022 was Hop Water. This was something we’d not tried before, but the results were cracking. Our mates in bottle shops said customers couldn’t get enough and who are we to deny The People?
Holy Hop Water has sprung up. A new approach to Hop Water, which we think will excite people who still want a hoppy taste but not necessary a beer.
And if you’re reading this aghast; worrying that soon an ABV over 4% will be a long-forgotten memory, like Zoom quizzes or a functioning government, don’t worry. Our plans for 2023 include some belting big beers as well as those hoppy, hazy juicy ones.
But what we can’t deny is that the demand for NOLO beers, or water with a hoppy hit, isn’t going anywhere, and is likely to grow again this year.
So if you’re going to cut back for Dry Jan, or just want to have the option, you can rely on the Monks.