Adnams could double production of low-alcohol beer by 2022

Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer, said the brewery's low-alcohol products had become more popul

Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer, said the brewery's low-alcohol products had become more popular in the last few years. Picture: ADNAMS - Credit: Archant

Southwold brewer Adnams could double production of its famous Ghost Ship drink by 2022 - meaning low-alcohol beer could make up 15% of its production.

Ghost Ship 0.5% currently makes up 7% of what the firm makes.

But Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer, said that after it started making the drink in June 2018: “We knew there was going to be a market but we didn’t anticipate it growing as quickly as it did.”

It has become the firm’s fourth best selling beer and received widespread critical acclaim.

“It’s just kept growing really,” said Mr Fitzgerald. “We expanded the kit that we put in 2019 because the sales had just gone way ahead of where we thought we’d be at that stage.

“On the current projections, we’ll still need to expand the kit again next year.

“It might well get to 15% in 2022.”

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Mr Fitzgerald added: “There are a lot of reasons why this type of beer is popular. Some people are more concerned with their lifestyle and they’re trying to cut down on their alcohol content.

“People found that it just tastes like a normal beer. So you can get the enjoyment of the flavour and the experience of having a beer without having the after effects.

“It’s won a couple of gold medals and a few silvers here and there but the sales are really what drives it at the moment.

“It’s obviously changed in the past few weeks but up until two months ago, the beer we got emailed about most often was the Ghost Ship 0.5% because people were just delighted to be able to find a low-alcohol beer that still tasted like beer.

The beer is brewed as normal, but then a de-alcoholiser is used to strip most of the alcohol out.

Under high pressure, the beer is pushed through a filter that only allows alcohol and water particles to pass through - leaving the original beer but without such a high alcohol content.

The entire process is done at a low temperature to keep the beer’s flavour.

Mr Fitzgerald said this way of producing low-alcohol beer was uncommon: “I think it’s the only large scale kit in the UK.

“For me it was key to let the beer ferment as normal and get all of those flavours before taking the alcohol away, to get it to taste like normal Ghost Ship.”

The company also sells low-alcohol wines and works with a brewery in Birmingham to produce a low-alcohol cider.