With dry January over, certified Cicerone wants people to know that non-alcoholic beverages and beer can be a year-round consumable.
Many people alternate between drinking non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, but it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition, says Josh Hare, founder of Rick’s Near Beer. He also manages beer programs and brand strategy for Hops & Grain and Pint and Plow. Brewery.
“We’re not necessarily a leading brand with a drinking or health message,” Hare said, noting that less alcohol is healthier, but beer isn’t designed as a health food. He added that it is not.
“Everyone agrees that reducing alcohol consumption is healthier than any other method, but if a customer mixes a Rick’s while drinking with friends or has two Rick’s so they can get home safely, I see them drinking and finishing the night,” he says. “Or maybe they enjoy it because they’re pregnant or just because they want to hang out with friends but don’t want to drink alcohol.”
His education to become a Chicerone helped develop Rick’s profile, says Hare. It helped us identify the profile of our customers and adjust our recipes accordingly,” says Hare.
To create Rick’s, he first brewed an alcoholic beer and then de-alcoholized it. “I’m not trying to reconstruct the beer’s flavor from individual ingredients, or manipulate the brewing process to produce lower levels of fermentable sugars, nor produce the same levels of ethanol compared to conventional brewer’s yeast. I preferred this process over other methods like using yeast strains,” he says.
The result, he says, is a beverage that “looks and tastes almost like alcoholic beer.” “It is not a malt drink with beer flavor. It is a beer with an alcohol content of 0.5% or less.”
The brand debuted its first beer, Rick’s Original, late last year, then released Rick’s Hazy just in time for January’s Prohibition. “For the rest of 2023, we will be focusing on Rick’s Original and Rick’s Hazy, as well as a sparkling hop water called Rick’s Crispy, which will be released this spring,” Hare said.
Beyond the company’s website, the beer will be available throughout Texas by April, with distribution expected to expand to Colorado and the Midwest.
Hare says he hopes the beer will challenge the notions people have about non-alcoholic beer, and hopes the branding will evoke nostalgia, good times with friends and even a little trouble. . “We all have licks in our lives,” says Hare. “A bigger-than-life, fun-loving, depressing type character – a personality that makes every story better, and someone you always want to be by your side.
“Rick shows up whenever you need a hand. He’s there when you want to sit quietly and offers to drive when you’re ready to party,” he continues. “I wanted to create a brand that resonates in a way that makes you think about your own great story.”
Now that Dry January is over, most people completing the challenge may have found it to have a positive impact on their lives, says Hare. “While some people may start counting down to February, others realize they need to give up alcohol completely,” he says. Others who didn’t feel that either. All of these perspectives are perfectly fine.”
In Hare’s view, alcohol should not prevent you from “living a productive life” and should not “prevent you from going out and socializing with friends.”
Personally, I love both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer. “My biggest passion is building a beer brand,” he said, adding that the first beer he drank was Coors his banquet.
“I still keep it in the fridge all the time,” says Hare. “I love her culture, but she also likes to venture into areas that are historically lacking, NA her beer is one of them.”