Non-alcoholic drink

An alcohol-free or non-alcoholic drink, also known as a temperance drink, is a version of an alcoholic drink made without alcohol, or with the alcohol removed or reduced to almost zero. These may take the form of a non-alcoholic mixed drink (a "virgin drink"), non-alcoholic beer ("near beer"), and "mocktails", and are widely available where alcoholic drinks are sold.

Scientific definitionEdit

Low-alcoholic drinkEdit

Sparkling apple cider, soft drinks, and juice naturally contain trace amounts or no alcohol. Some fresh orange juices are above the UK 'alcohol free' limit of 0.05% ABV, as are some yogurts and rye bread.[1]

Ethanol distillation is used to separate alcoholic drinks into what are advertised as non-alcoholic drinks and spirits. Distilled wine produces low alcohol wine and brandy (from brandywine, derived from Dutch brandewijn, "burning wine").[2] Distilled beer may be used to produce low-alcohol beer and whisky.

However, alcoholic drinks cannot be further purified to 0.00% alcohol by volume by distillation. Most drinks labeled "non-alcoholic" contain 0.5% ABV, as it is more profitable than distilling it to 0.05% ABV often found in products sold by companies specializing in non-alcoholic drinks.[citation needed]

Ethical issuesEdit

Alcohol is legal in most countries of the world where a drinking culture exists. In countries where alcohol is illegal, similar non-alcoholic drinks are permitted. The definition of "alcohol-free" may vary from country to country. The term "non-alcoholic" (e.g., alcohol-free beer) is often used to describe a drink that contains 0.0% ABV.

However, most drinks advertised as "non-alcoholic" or "alcohol free" sold by countries with zero tolerance with state-run liquor monopoly, actually contain alcohol. Finland has a quite high ABV regulation for non-alcoholic drinks that are classified as alcoholic drink by most other countries.

non-alcoholic beverage means a beverage which contains a maximum of 2.8 percentage by volume ethyl alcohol

— THE ALCOHOL ACT, Chapter 1, Section 3 (4.1.2001/1), paragraph 3[3]

In the European Union, the labels of drinks containing only more than 1.2% ABV must state the actual alcoholic strength (i.e., show the word "alcohol" or the abbreviation "alc." followed by the symbol "% vol.").[4]

Alcohol is a psychoactive drug and some people say that the label non-alcoholic is misleading and is a threat to recovering alcoholics.[5]


Mocktails, an abbreviation for "mock cocktails", are festive, non-alcoholic party drinks. The word "mock" implying a facade of the alcoholic cocktail without any of the alcoholic content. In the last few years, it has become so popular that it even finds its place in the cocktail menu on many restaurant and bars. Mocktails can be described as a smooth blend of only non-alcoholic drinks, which could be fresh fruit juices, syrups, cream, herbs and spices. Mocktails are designed specifically for those who do not take alcoholic drinks or need to refrain from them, which means these blends can be enjoyed by people of all ages. They are particularly favoured over cocktails by Muslims, underage persons, drivers, pregnant women, and others who choose party drinks that are alcohol-free.[6]


The Woman's Christian Temperance Union publishes several recipes for fruestas, which are nonalcoholic fruit drinks for large functions, such as proms and weddings.[7] As a locution, fruesta drinks are etymologically derived from "fruit" and "fiesta", being a portmanteau of the two words.[7]

Legal definitionsEdit


In the European Union, the labels of drinks containing more than 1.2% ABV must state the actual alcoholic strength (i.e., show the word "alcohol" or the abbreviation "alc." followed by the symbol "% vol.").[8]


The government of Denmark have decided to change the alcohol free legal definition from 0.1% alcohol by volume to 0.5%. This is due to the better taste of 0.5% than of 0.1%.[9]


non-alcoholic beverage means a beverage which contains a maximum of 2.8 percentage by volume ethyl alcohol

— THE ALCOHOL ACT, Chapter 1, Section 3 (4.1.2001/1), paragraph 3[3]


Non-alcoholic beer, termed as "birra analcolica", is regulated as equal to or less than 1.2% ABV.[10]


Systembolaget defines alcohol-free as a drink that contains no more than 0.5% alcohol by volume.[11]

United KingdomEdit

Licensing laws only place restrictions on the sale or consumption of drinks with an alcohol content of over 0.5%.[12]


In Japanese Liquor Tax Law, alcoholic drinks (酒類, shurui) are defined as equal to or more than 1% ABV,[13] so that drinks that is less than 1% ABV are not treated as alcoholic drink.[14] However, Advertisement Judging Committee on Alcoholic Drink (酒類の広告審査委員会, Shurui no Kōkoku Shinsa Īnkai), organization for making self‐imposed regulation, defines non-alcoholic drinks (ノンアルコール飲料, non’arukōru inryō) as drinks that 0.00% ABV.[15]


An alcohol free drink is defined as under 0.7% alcohol by volume.[16]


Non-alcoholic drinks are defined as containing less than 0.5% abv in general, or less than 1.2% abv if based on a fermentation product, including drinks like kefir, kvass and medovukha. This also includes low-alcohol beers by definition.[17]

United StatesEdit

A malt drink that contains less than 0.5% alcohol by volume does not have to be labeled.

(e) Non-alcoholic. The term "non-alcoholic" may be used on malt beverages, provided the statement "contains less than 0.5 percent (or .5%) alcohol by volume" appears in direct conjunction with it, in readily legible printing and on a completely contrasting background. (f) Alcohol free. The term "alcohol free" may be used only on malt beverages containing no alcohol.

— Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, PART 7—LABELING AND ADVERTISING OF MALT BEVERAGES, Subpart H §7.71 Alcoholic content[18]

List of traditional non-alcoholic drinksEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What is meant by alcohol-free?". 14 May 2006. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. 1989.
  3. ^ a b "No. 1143/1994 The Alcohol Act" (PDF). 8 December 1994. Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  4. ^ "Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements by Country". Retrieved 2016-06-10.
  5. ^ "Sweden's alcohol-free drink label 'misleading'". 29 October 2012. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 2018-04-10.
  7. ^ a b Rollins, Cristin Eleanor; Finlay, William (2005). "Have You Heard the Trampling of the New Crusade?": Organizational Survival and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. p. 53.
  8. ^ "Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements by Country". Archived from the original on 2013-02-21. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  9. ^ "Nu må en alkoholfri øl indeholde mere alkohol". 2014-04-11.
  10. ^ Porretta, S.; Donadini, G. (2008). "A Preference Study for No Alcohol Beer in Italy Using Quantitative Concept Analysis". Journal of the Institute of Brewing. 114 (4): 315–321. doi:10.1002/j.2050-0416.2008.tb00775.x.
  11. ^ "Alcohol-free products". 2011-03-11. Archived from the original on 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2013-02-05.
  12. ^ "Licensing Act 2003". Crown copyright.
  13. ^ "酒税法".
  14. ^ "ノンアルコール飲料". e-ヘルスネット 情報提供 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  15. ^ "酒類の広告審査委員会 -自主基準 自主基準の遵守等-". Retrieved 2020-10-11.
  16. ^ "Lov om omsetning av alkoholholdig drikk m.v. (alkoholloven)".
  17. ^ "State standard of non-alcoholic beverages". Euro-Asian Council for Standardization, Metrology and Certification.
  18. ^ "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations". United States Government. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2011. See §7.71, paragraphs (e) and (f).

Further readingEdit