A few decades ago, alcohol-free beer was an unwanted yet inevitable option for drivers, pregnant women and the like. These days, it’s the drink of choice with ever-increasing popularity for many people.
Birell, arguably the best-known Czech alcohol-free beer, has just celebrated 25 years on the market. It is certainly currently one of the most popular brands nationwide. How is this possible, given that non-alcoholic beer was massively unpopular before the birth of the brand?
Birell’s first brew was produced in Nošovice in 1992 by Master Brewer Ivo Kaňák. At first, people may have appreciated its taste, but the popularity was limited as Birell was still perceived as the “drink for drivers”– something you don’t really seek when just wanting a good pint. The big break came in 2012, brought about by bicycle enthusiasts and their favourite beverage, the Radler (which is, in fact, German for “cyclist”).
Days of brewing
Plzeňský Prazdroj, already owners of the Birell brand, saw a gap in the market at that time: there were many Radlers available, but in fact, none of them was alcohol-free. So the company introduced Birell Lime and Raspberry, the first non-alcoholic Radler ever. It was marketed under the tagline “Nature always at Hand”. In the following years, many new variants of non-alco Radler were introduced: lemon and pomegranate, ginger, pomelo and grapefruit, etc.
In 2016, the first semi-dark Birell appeared and the year after saw a further increase of products, including Birell Green Barley. In the same year, 2017, the production of the Botanicals range started. Botanicals are no longer called alcohol-free beers; more likely they are natural non-alcoholic refreshments. They are brewed for 19 days, are full of herbs, do not contain much sugar, and a skilled craftsman is needed to produce them.
Nowadays, the Birell range consists of three main elements: non-alcoholic beer, fruity non-alcoholic lemonades, and natural non-alcoholic refreshments with botanicals. A great selection for those who seek diversity in alcohol-free drinks!