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OPEN TO ALL
Words by Eli Ankutse
The fact that people are under increasing pressure – socially, sartorially and medically – to lead more healthy lifestyles has not gone unnoticed by the soft drinks market and now the alcohol industry are taking note. The first non-alcoholic lager by Dutch beer brand Heineken®, Heineken® 0.0 is brewed with a unique recipe for a distinct balanced taste, to be enjoyed at any time of day. What better place to showcase the refreshing nature of an ice-cold, alcohol-free beer than the sun-soaked Spanish GP in Barcelona? I’m glad to say Heineken® agreed, so I journeyed to Barcelona to taste their new healthy masterpiece in situ.
Heineken® 0.0 has only 69 calories in each 33cl bottle
The tasting was certainly an experience, being a classicist, I wanted to dislike it by the very virtue of what I considered to be sacrilege. Does the Heineken® 0.0 taste different to ‘normal’ Heineken®…? Yes – but only marginally. Side by side, tasting one then the other, it was clear the difference in taste, albeit very subtly. There is something that alcohol adds to the texture of beer that can’t be replicated synthetically – and quite rightly so I might add. But when tasting the Heineken® 0.0 and the original Heineken® one at a time, I failed to guess which one was which on multiple occasions. It’s nigh on impossible. That was all the convincing I needed, and from that moment onwards I was sold.
We’d rather have ten people drinking one or two beers than one person drinking ten beers.
~ John Paul Schurink, Heineken Corporate Relations
An additional benefit with having a beer that is alcohol free, is for that time when you’ve had a few drinks, and you just simply fancy a break; a benefit well exploited throughout the Spanish GP.
For those that may be unaware, with the various stages of F1, the pre-qualifying, qualifying and even the race itself, there is a significant time spent waiting for things to happen and as such, socialising is very much part of the sport itself. With all the socialising, even without you particularly trying, the consumption of drink throughout the day can be… substantial. Heineken® 0.0 helped reduce the inevitable consumption, making this a new F1 experience for me. For once I didn’t have to choose between the trite soft drinks and plethora of fresh juices as a non-alcoholic option, I could stick with my chosen drink, a beer. Better yet, from the distance, the green hue of the Heineken® bottle or glass frothing with beer look as different as identical twins – not very. This avoids those laddish moments and jibes such as the short but cutting “You lightweight.” or my personal favourite “Heavy one last night mate…?” then without waiting for a response “Thought so – I could tell by your chat…”
The choice of blue label is a good one too, only noticeable to the keen eye, much like once would notice the eco-friendly badge on an electric car, and in a similar vein alludes to a healthier lifestyle, boasting only 69 Calories.
Looking around me I saw a symphony of smiling faces, most with blue labelled Heineken® bottles in hand – it was then I realised what really makes Heineken® a social drink. It’s what the brand embodies rather than solely the bottle; freedom, conversation, togetherness and enjoyment. In short, Heineken® is a brand that is truly open to all.
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