Whether you love it or hate it, non-alcoholic drinks have become a lot more common in pubs as of recent. I have tried some nice non-alcoholic cider and some very… not nice non-alcoholic beers in recent years, but who invented the De-Alcoholised process?
Who Invented Non-Alcoholic Beer?
In an article from the National Guardian in January of 1911, Mr Otto Overbeck from Hewitt Bros Ltd based in Lincolnshire claims that he invented non-alcoholic beer. Overbeck had discovered the secret after 30 years of experiment and research. The process is said to:
a method whereby it is possible to take from beer and stout the power to produce intoxication, while leaving their flavour, sparkle, palatability, and nutritive, digestive and feeding powers unimpaired.
Mr Overbeck then explains that chemists have been trying to eliminate alcohol from beer for years, but when they did, they destroyed the palatability because of the temperature. Overbeck’s secret was to subject lukewarm beer to a brisk current of carbonic acid gas to drive out the alcohol.
The great side effect of the process
When the process to make the beer non-alcoholic was completed, it created a very nice side effect that was of great commercial value for the company.
For every hogshead of beer that was treated, 3 gallons of proof spirit was driven out. This spirit was ‘an excellent mild whisky’ and of course, could be sold as such.
The whisky that was produced emitted no fumes in combustion, burned clearly, steadily and without smoke or smell. Mr Overbeck thought that these advantages were sufficient to oust petrol from the market. The only thing they would need to do is methylate the spirit to prevent chauffeurs from getting drunk!