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Does Alcohol-Free Mean 0% Alcohol?

0% alcohol free cocktail

Alcohol-free, non-alcoholic, low alcohol, de-alcoholised...all these terms can be confusing and are often used interchangeably! But do they all mean the same thing or is there a difference? How much alcohol is low alcohol? And is alcohol-free alcohol-free?

Perplexingly, different countries will have various definitions for each of the above terms and you may be surprised to find out that none of the official definitions actually mean that a drink will contain 0% alcohol...even if a product displays ‘0% alcohol’ on its label, this does not necessarily mean zero alcohol - bizarre, right?

Ok, we’ll do our best to explain the low and no (otherwise known as NoLo) industry descriptors that you may have come across in a supermarket fridge near you. We’ll also explain our own unique process of making alcohol-free spirits and how we can guarantee that absolutely no alcohol is used or produced throughout the entire process of making CROSSIP's alcohol free spirits.

Let’s get started!

0% alcohol free spirits

What do the NoLo industry descriptors mean?

The UK government recognises 4 low and no alcohol descriptors and has issued guidance to set the suggested conditions for their use - ‘guidance’ being the operative word here. Below you’ll discover when each term should be used and how this differs across territories: 

1. Non-alcoholic

In the UK, this descriptor is used for beverages that contain a maximum of 0.05% ABV (alcohol by volume). However, it’s unlikely that you’ll see ‘non-alcoholic’ on the label of a bottle of NoLo beer or spirit. That’s because the government advises against its use for any product commonly associated with an alcoholic drink (with the exception of unfermented wine intended for communion or sacramental use). Instead, you’re much more likely to see ‘non-alcoholic’ to describe drinks that have never contained alcohol in the first place, such as an elderflower pressé or J20.

But hang on...don’t you use non-alcoholic to describe CROSSIP?

We certainly do! Whilst we are commonly associated with alcoholic drinks (we’re an alcohol alternative after all), CROSSIP spirits never contain a single drop of alcohol. We’re proud that our entire process is alcohol-free, meaning that our drinks can be enjoyed by everyone! Keep reading for more information about our process.

2. Alcohol-free

Alongside low-alcohol, alcohol-free is the most common descriptor in the NoLo industry. In the UK, it’s used to define drinks that contain anywhere between 0.00% - 0.05% ABV. In Europe, however, it can be used for drinks containing up to 0.5% ABV, and these products can still be sold in the UK market using the ‘alcohol-free’ label.

So, for those of you wondering is alcohol-free alcohol-free? Not necessarily! Of course, for those of us who simply choose to moderate our drinking, 0.05% ABV (and even 0.5%) is negligible. But for those who exclude alcohol because of their beliefs, this is 0.05% too much.

3. Low-alcohol

This descriptor is used for drinks that contain between 0.05% ABV and 1.2% ABV and the maximum ABV should be indicated on the label. Low alcohol (also known as reduced alcohol) drinks, such as these NoLo beers, are a great choice for those who wish to cut down on alcohol without cutting it out completely.

4. De-alcoholised

Confusingly, whilst the term implies that alcohol has been removed, de-alcoholised can be used in the UK for all drinks containing no more than 0.5% ABV. Whilst some products that fall within this category have undergone an alcohol-removing process, others have been brewed with unfermentable sugars and ‘lazy’ yeasts to produce a drink with a lower level of alcohol.

Does CROSSIP contain any alcohol?

Nope! Unlike other alcohol-free brands, we don’t ferment or distil and then remove alcohol afterwards. Instead, we use the macerate and steep technique to make our CROSSIP spirits, which means that there is never any alcohol involved in the production process.

crossip alcohol free

We’ve gone to great lengths to optimise the extraction of flavours from raw ingredients, rather than lazily relying on alcohol (ethanol is a solvent). Not only does this distinguish us from other brands in the NoLo industry, but it also means that:

Our non-alcoholic spirits can be enjoyed by everyone including teetotallers, individuals cutting back on the booze, those that can’t drink alcohol for personal or religious reasons, and pretty much anyone else!

Learn more about alcohol-free

To discover more non-alcoholic tidbits, NoLo industry standards, where to buy alcohol-free drinks, and how to create the best darn 0% alcohol cocktail you’ve ever tasted, make sure you check out our Ultimate Guide to Alcohol-Free!

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