Being the designated driver does not mean forgoing that beer or glass of wine any more thanks to the increasing availability of alcohol-free drinks. Some of the beers available today include Castle Free, Heineken 0.0, Bavaria Non-Alcoholic and Erdinger Alcohol-Free.
There is also a wide selection of different alcohol-free wines available, from sparkling wines to red and white, both sweet and dry varieties.
There is even a selection of non-alcoholic spirits, mostly gins, and the range is constantly growing. However, it is important to understand that not all “alcohol-free” beverages contain zero alcohol.
In South Africa the Liquor Products Act defines an alcoholic beverage as one that contains more than 0.5% alcohol by volume.
This means that while many of the alcohol-free beverages available really are free of alcohol, others are not.
For example, Savanna Non-Alcoholic Lemon claims to offer “the same crisp taste of Savanna Cider without the alcohol”, which is misleading, as they actually contain 0.3% alcohol. Castle Free, similarly, is not completely free of alcohol, containing 0.03%.
JC Le Roux Le Domaine Non-Alcoholic NV sparkling wine does not specify the exact alcohol content, stating only that it is “less than 0.5%”. Many alcohol-free wines also contain trace amounts of alcohol as they have been ‘de-alcoholised’ – comparable to decaffeinated coffee which still contains traces of caffeine.
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