For the 10,000 years or so it has been around, beer has been relied upon both to refresh and intoxicate. Today's brewers think it could thrive by focusing exclusively on the refreshing. Alcohol-free beer is the booze industry's latest great hope as sales of the full-strength stuff have stagnated. If Heineken and other brewing giants have their way, tipplers will be knocking back pints from breakfast on.
Beers with no (or little) alcohol have been sold for decades. But even their pedlars admitted they tasted flat. They were aimed at those who craved a proper beer but couldn't indulge: the pregnant, religious or designated drivers. Multinational brewers saw them as "distressed purchases" and sold them under separate brands far removed from flagship marques.
No longer. Even before the pandemic shut the world's bars, beer-drinking was on the slide, in part owing to health-conscious millennials bingeing less often. Booze barons concerned about losing sales to soft drinks invested in ways of making alcohol-free beer taste better. This has started to pay off. Though nobody sober would confuse an alcohol-free brew with the real thing, it is now a credible draught. The product is good enough for mega-brands, from Japan's Asahi to America's Budweiser (part of AB InBev, the world's biggest brewer), to offer a "0.0" variant.
Part of the brewers' interest stems from boozeless beer's frothy margins. Making the stuff is actually more expensive than making a straight-up Stella. The process usually involves taking a finished alcoholic beer and stripping away the booze (brands guard their methods closely). The expense is, however, more than compensated for by the savings on alcohol excise duties that are no longer owed. It helps that consumers appear to be willing to pay roughly the same price whether a beer contains alcohol or not.
1.If Heineken and other brewing giants have their way, tipplers will be knocking back pints from breakfast on.
have one's way 得偿所愿；独行其是
eg.Spoiled children become sulky if they cannot have their own way.
eg."I am drinking," replied the tippler, with a lugubrious air.
knock back （快速地，大口地）喝
eg.I like to knock back a few beers after work.
2.Even before the pandemic shut the world's bars, beer-drinking was on the slide, in part owing to health-conscious millennials bingeing less often.
on the slide 每况愈下；日益恶化
eg.Smartphone sales are on the slide.
eg.Binge watching series is going to melt your brain.