Meet Bruce Peachy, our very own head brewer. In the beer brewing world, this guy is a legend, and his reputation precedes him. In the beer lover’s world, he’s just a guy enjoying a balanced lifestyle, which now includes non-alcoholic beer.
When did you first fall in love with beer, and why are you into it?
I fell for beer (hard) when I started working in the industry in 1978. My career actually started off as what I now think of as a happy accident. I had studied science and wasn’t entirely sure which branch I would go into but ended up being successful in a brewer job application after I graduated. Fast-forward to today, and I have over four decades of experience!
I’m into beer because it’s a big part of socialisation, and I enjoy a cold beer with friends while catching up. I also really enjoy the flavour of beer and the variety; that’s a big part of the love for me.
Where did the attraction to non-alcoholic beer begin, and why make this transition?
Non-alcoholic beer is growing in popularity and demand. In fact, I’ve been following the trend for some time and first trialled alcohol-free beer brewing technology years ago when working as a brewery research scientist.
Since then, I have seen demand increase across a wide range of age groups and demographics, and there is an incline each year in both Australia and overseas for non-alcoholic beer.
It’s pretty clear alcohol-free beer is not just a temporary trend or fad. It’s a viable, tasty and refreshing option for people who want a low-calorie option that doesn’t have the (sometimes not-so-nice) side effects full-strength beer or alternative alcoholic drinks can bring. It’s going to be an excellent full-time or inbeertweener option for many people when it comes to drinking beer.
What are the key differences between brewing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer? Is one more of a challenge than the other?
It really depends on the technology being used, but generally, the process for brewing non-alcoholic beer is different and can, in some cases, be more time involved and challenging. I suspect this will change over time and as technology develops, just as it did for regular beer.
What do you feel are the most significant benefits of drinking non-alcoholic beer for you?
I think the most significant benefit is it really is just beer without the alcohol-related side effects. Beneficial Beer Co beer, which I am responsible for brewing, has a similar mouthfeel and taste and flavours as your real beer, so it’s a no-brainer for me if I want non-alcoholic.
What do you look for in a beer/what’s your idea of a perfect beer?
I actually have a history of judging beer competitions nationally and abroad, and the main categories we look at are:
A perfect balance of these attributes separates the great from the good (or not so good – you know, sometimes it happens).
Beer is also quite an acquired taste for some and subjective, so variety is very important. One person’s lager love is another’s pale ale perfection.
Is non-alcoholic beer a full-time choice or a more flexible “sometimes” option for you?
I enjoy a mix of both, so it’s a sometimes option for me depending on what I have on my schedule and the time of day/week. It’s nice to have that choice available and still feel like it’s beer.
Where does alcohol-free beer come in most handy for your lifestyle?
Alcohol-free beer is handy for me when I drive. It can be hard to keep track of how many standard drinks you’ve had, so non-alcoholic beer just gives me that peace of mind and is a stress-free alternative.
Have you found anyone else in your immediate circle who has taken an interest in alcohol-free too?
Yes, I have some friends who also needed an alternative, and they have made the switch to a non-alcohol beer for these occasions.
Finally, if you could enjoy a non-alcohol cold one anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’m really into my golf, and I usually drive to the course, but enjoy a little celebratory (or more often commissary) drink after a round, so at that point, a few cold non-alcoholic beers are a viable option.