St. Paul company brings craft to non-alcoholic beer

Wineries are getting in on the trend, too

a man stands with kegs in the background
Ben Jordan, CEO of ABV Technology in St. Paul, says his company has seen double and triple year-over-year growth in demand for non-alcoholic beer.
Tom Crann | MPR News

If you practice Lent and have decided to give up alcohol, you're in luck. The non-alcoholic beverage industry is exploding right now, thanks in part to a St. Paul business.

In 2017, ABV Technology set out to create a non-alcoholic beer that “actually tasted good,” said CEO Ben Jordan. The technology to dealcoholize beer had already been around for a long time, but not at a price point that let craft brewers join the market with their more refined brews.

So ABV Technology developed systems that smaller makers could afford, and it began dealcoholizing beverages for those who still couldn’t invest in the machines.

The result is a boom in new, more satisfying non-alcoholic, or NA, options.

“When you think of the hazy IPA or the Imperial Porter — these craft varieties that only came out of craft breweries — the same thing is happening now in NA,” Jordan said.

“[Brewers and winemakers] test recipes through the machines and make tweaks. They say, ‘OK, we’re going to boil the mash a little bit longer. We’re going to add just a little more hops to make up for the flavor. We’re going to use more oats than another kind of malt to bring more mouthfeel and body back. It’s those tricks that make the difference.”

Jordan said he’s seen double and triple year-over-year growth in the last five years, and expects non-alcoholic wines to soon eclipse that growth.

In the meantime, ABV technology won’t leave you hanging for those post-Lent toasts. It captures and stores the ethanol it removes from beer and wine. Come spring, brewers will turn it into warm-weather spritzers and seltzers, Jordan said.

“The rise of nonalcoholic beverages and the rise of hard seltzer are not a coincidence,” he said.

To hear All Things Considered host Tom Crann tour ABV Technology and try some of their non-alcoholic drinks, click play on the audio player above.

Volume Button
Now Listening To Livestream
MPR News logo
On Air
MPR News