GERMANY – GEA, one of the world’s largest suppliers of systems and components to the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, has launched a new system to save up to 66% to 100% of freshwater consumption in non-alcoholic beer production processes.

The water-saving tech for non-alcoholic beer production, GEA AromaPlus PRO, according to GEA, is an important advancement toward freshwater neutrality in production processes and will solve the issue of limited availability of deoxygenated water that many breweries have to deal with.

The system is a filtration technology that uses special polymer membranes to separate alcohol and water from other ingredients, allowing to save on water.

The reverse osmosis tech allows for a cleaner separation of water and alcohol from the “crucial” ingredients that give the aroma, color, and turbidity to beer.

The German cooperation added that this new tech not only allows for the saving of fresh water but also allows the use of the remaining alcohol from the dealcoholization or diafiltration as a valuable by-product.

The specially developed reverse osmosis membrane is very selective for ethanol, allowing brewers to filter alcohol at lower temperatures.

This helps save time, energy costs and preserve the flavor, allowing breweries to skip the step of restoring the flavors after the alcohol has been removed.

The company noted that Membrane filtration is now on the fast track as the gentlest dealcoholization technology, just like the technology focuses on pressure and not on heat at the time of filtrating alcohol.

“Our latest filtration system combines the trend towards 0.0% beer intending to reduce water in production,” said Ralf Scheibner, filtration expert at GEA.

“Due to its lower volume, it has a higher alcohol content and can thus serve as a base for alcoholic mixed drinks and trendy beverages, such as hard seltzer, or can be reused.”

While initially designed for the dealcoholization of beer down to 0%, the system is equally used for other non-alcoholic beverages, such as 0% cider.

GEA explained how the soaring demand for non-alcoholic beer “was a ray of hope in the low-sales pandemic period,” as the new buyers replaced part of the lost consumers.

It is evident that voiding and reducing alcohol is fast becoming the norm, a growing trend across all age groups, it is most apparent in Generation Z consumers, with as many as thirds of consumers aged 18 to 25 saying that they never consume alcohol, according to a new report from Innova Market Insights.

The trend is reflected in Japan, where the country has been witnessing a positive correlation between a shrinking population to alcohol drinking leading to substantially lower revenues from spirits taxes.

Most companies are now tapping into this trend, with international beer brewers, such as Kirin Holdings, planning to hit 209.5 million sold cases of alcohol-free beverages in 2022, a 2% increase compared to last year.

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