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Is non-alcoholic beer harmful to children?

  1. Alcohol-free beer has become an indispensable part of the Dutch beer landscape and supermarket chains. In addition, consumption among households is rising significantly. Non-alcoholic beer is also becoming increasingly popular among children. But can this hurt?

  1. Research by the Dutch Brewers shows that non-alcoholic beer is on the rise. Consumption increased 24.7 percent in 2017 compared to 2016. Where only 125,131 hectoliters were consumed in 2010, this is 482,310 in 2017. A gigantic increase of 285 percent. It is clear that non-alcoholic beer has acquired a fairly positive image, as more and more beer producers are marketing their own product. Non-alcoholic beer seems to be well established now.

A good alternative

  1. The increasing popularity has various causes. First of all, there are more and more variants and the range has become increasingly wider. At first you only saw lager and wheat beer, then a lot of radler and now it has expanded to a range of various non-alcoholic beers. We also handle it more responsibly if we still have to drive, for example. For these moments, non-alcoholic beer is a good alternative.

Turning point

  1. But there is also a downside that we should not ignore. The Kindermonitor, a study by the GGD Noord- en Oost Gelderland, shows that eight percent of the parents of children in the highest groups of primary education sometimes buy alcohol-free beer for their child. Take Radler 0.0 for example: it is nice and sweet, tastes a bit like lemonade and at the same time looks cool. It has no harmful effects in the short term, but it does have an effect in the long term. Although it is not forbidden to consume alcohol-free beer as a child, this is not recommended. Alcohol-free beer may contain no more than 0.1 percent alcohol according to the Beer Ordinance Product Board Drinks. It is not considered an alcoholic, so it may be sold to under 18s. This is not the biggest problem either.

Increase in alcohol consumption

  1. Â € œThe threshold for alcoholic beverages will be lowered, â € assumes Wim van Dalen, director of the Netherlands Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP. â € œA relatively young age, children get used to the taste and start to like it. In addition, the industry ensures brand awareness among young people.â € Consumers commit themselves to a brand at an early age by consuming alcohol-free beer. In fact, this means that alcohol consumption can actually increase later in life. Especially when it comes to drinks that have the same taste. Real connoisseurs can taste the difference, children hardly ever. ”


  1. Alcohol-free beer causes a lot of discussion. Beer producers believe that they would do well to promote the product. In this way, they give the impression that they are indeed concerned about certain aspects of alcohol consumption. On the other hand, opponents wonder why non-alcoholic beer has entered the market. â € œThe choice of non-alcoholic drinks was already abundantly available, â € says Van Dalen. In short, non-alcoholic beer has its positive aspects, but brand awareness and habituation make the step to alcoholic beverages faster and easier for children. STAP explicitly advises parents to also use the age limit of eighteen for drinks that are comparable to alcoholic drinks.

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