If you’re looking for a new non-alcoholic beverage, you might have stumbled upon ginger beer. But now you’re wondering if ginger beer is non-alcoholic, given its name and all.
Despite the word “beer” in its name, ginger beer is a non-alcoholic beverage. It’s carbonated and is categorized as a fizzy and bubbly soft drink. Due to the manufacturing process, some modern ginger beer variations may still have some alcohol content in but less than 0.5% ABV – still considered to be non-alcoholic.
The original ginger beer was initially alcoholic, but modern versions are mostly non-alcoholic. Still, there are alcoholic ginger beer variations available in the market, so be sure to check the alcohol content on the bottle.
Below, we’ll go over everything you need to know about ginger beer and its alcohol content (or lack thereof).
What is Ginger Beer?
Ginger beer, though the name suggests, is not actually beer. Instead, it’s a carbonated non-alcoholic drink that fits better in the soft drinks category of beverages.
Ginger beer is a brewed and fermented beverage made from ginger, sugar, water, and yeast. It’s not a beer – it’s a carbonated drink made from ginger root.
While ginger beer can be consumed on its own as a fizzy and bubbly soft drink, it’s also usually a base mixer in mocktails and cocktails.
Ginger beer has a long history on its back, dating back to 1700s England where it was originally an alcoholic beverage with an alcohol content of about 11% ABV (alcohol by volume).
What started as an alcoholic beverage soon turned into a non-alcoholic variant as a response to the Prohibition regulations which illegalized the manufacture, transportation, and sale of alcohol in 1920s America.
Today, it’s hugely popular as a fizzy, carbonated, and non-alcoholic drink made by many ginger beer brands.
Is Ginger Beer Non-Alcoholic?
Today, ginger beer is no longer considered and categorized as an alcoholic beverage, despite its name.
In its most common and modern form, ginger beer is now classified as a soft drink and has zero alcohol content.
Traditional Ginger Beer
Traditionally, ginger beer did contain alcohol. But this is a direct result of the fermentation process and brewing processes the ingredients go through. This resulted in the traditional alcohol content that considered ginger beer as an alcoholic beverage.
Modern Ginger Beer
Modern concoctions of ginger beer are no longer classified as alcoholic. This is because ginger beer is no longer fermented and brewed. Instead, the ingredients are blended together and artificially carbonated during the manufacturing process.
Modern processes also removed any elements that traditionally form alcohol during the process, making most modern ginger beers sold in stores alcohol-free.
Is Alcoholic Ginger Beer Still Available?
Modern ginger beer concoctions are generally non-alcoholic. The modern manufacturing processes they go through ensure that the alcohol level remains below 0.5% by volume so they remain under the non-alcoholic category.
Alcoholic ginger beers, however, are still widely available in the market. These typically have an alcohol content of 2% to 5% ABV.
How Much Alcohol is in Ginger Beer?
Traditionally, the original ginger beers have an alcohol content of about 11%. Modern ginger beer concoctions are mostly non-alcoholic and to be classified as a non-alcoholic drink, they must contain no more than 0.5% alcohol.
There are still alcoholic ginger beer beverages available. These typically have about 2% to 5% alcohol content.
What is in Ginger Beer and What Does it Taste Like?
The core ingredients of ginger beer include ginger, sugar, and water. Some variations include other flavorings like lemon, lime, and cinnamon to give it a unique taste.
Ginger beer has a unique taste combining sweet with a spicy ginger flavor. It also has a tangy aftertaste with an overall strong flavor profile.
Unsurprisingly, non-alcoholic ginger beer has very strong flavors of ginger. And because it is carbonated, you will feel all the same fizz and bubbles traditional soft drinks offer.
Is Ginger Beer Healthy?
Because it contains ginger, ginger beer might offer some wonderful health benefits.
Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also a good source of antioxidants that can protect you from free radicals. Additionally, ginger has long been known to help with digestive issues and nausea.
Though ginger beer is often marketed as a healthier alternative to regular soft drink products, its supposed health benefits can be questionable and you should take them with a grain of salt.
Not all manufacturers and brands of ginger beer use natural ginger. Some use artificial extracts, which means these ginger health benefits might not exist in their products at all. It also contains varying levels of sugar. And sugar, when consumed in excessive amounts, can be dangerous to health.
Diet ginger beer contains less sugar, so look for low sugar or “light” versions if this is something that concerns you.
Ginger Beer vs. Ginger Ale
If you’re familiar with ginger beer, then you are likely to be familiar with ginger ale as well.
Both ginger ale and ginger beer share a common base flavor that often leads to confusion. Ginger beer has a stronger, spicier flavor than the milder, sweeter, and less spicy flavor of ginger ale.
Ginger beer is mostly made from actual ginger root while ginger ale uses an artificial ginger extract for flavor. Ginger ale is completely alcohol-free while ginger beer can contain up to 0.5% ABV.
Lastly, ginger beer has a more cloudy appearance compared to the more transparent appearance of ginger ale.
Mocktails with Ginger Beer
As we’ve mentioned above, ginger beer is popularly used as an ingredient for mocktails. Here are some popular specialty concoctions you can try:
- Virgin Moscow Mule: This classic ginger beer cocktail combines ginger beer, non-alcoholic vitamin drink as a vodka substitute, and lime juice. Once all mixed together, garnish with a lime wedge or mint sprig.
- Non-alcoholic Mezcal Mule: Swap out the base spirit for a non-alcoholic tequila and use cucumber and mint to brighten the spice.
See all the best ginger beer mocktails with non-alcoholic spirits.
Ginger beer is a great base ingredient for mocktails. Despite its name, ginger beer is a non-alcoholic carbonated drink that is under the soft drinks category.
In its most common form, ginger beer has zero alcohol content. At most, it can contain up to 0.5% alcohol content due to the manufacturing process but that’s still considered non-alcoholic.