A new zero-alcohol “sports beer” is being marketed as a healthy way to rehydrate after exercise — but not everyone is on board with the idea. Here’s why.
A new zero-alcohol “sports beer” is being marketed as a healthy way to rehydrate after exercise — but not everyone is on board with the idea. Here’s why.

This ‘sports beer’ has experts divided

A new brew of non-alcoholic "sports beer" is causing a stir, with one of the state's peak health foundations concerned it could normalise regular drinking and train young people to like beer.

Melbourne based craft brewery UpFlow this week released a range of "non-alcoholic rehydration" beers, which they're encouraging people to drink at anytime - including during exercise.

The beer - which is brewed as either an ultra pale lager or classic pale ale - is packed with minerals such as potassium, to help replace lost electrolytes and support recovery.

But health organisation VicHealth have voiced concern over the drink, which looks and tastes like a normal beer.

They fear it could teach young people to "appreciate the taste and flavour of beer."

Emma Saleeba, manager of alcohol and tobacco at VicHealth, said she had strong reservations about the possibility for the drink to appeal to children and did not agree with it being marketed for sport.

"Sport is about fitness, families and fun and should be free from the promotion of harmful products like alcohol - or alcohol-mimicking drinks," she said.

"These types of products that look and taste like alcohol should not be sold where children and young people can access them."

Ms Saleeba said the best choice for hydration was "always" water.

UpFlow co-founder Julian Sanders said the zero-alcohol content was a "responsible" way to enjoy a drink and gave everyday consumers and sports people greater choice.

"Our new hypotonic sports beers celebrate … the broader conversation we're trying to have around living a responsible and more sustainable lifestyle while still being able to enjoy a

beer and perform at your physical best," he said.

"By brewing beers that are full of flavour but contain no alcohol, we are able to open up new ways to enjoy drinking that are tied to health, fitness, performance, productivity and safety."

Mr Sanders said he wanted to change Australia's drinking culture, especially when it came to sport.

"Like most Australians, we like to finish off a big win by getting on the beers, but don't like the unfortunate consequences we wake up with the next day," he said.

alanah.frost@news.com.au

 

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Originally published as Why 'sports beer' has experts divided


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