Does O’ Doul’s Beer Have Alcohol In It
In this brief article, we will answer the question, “does O’ Doul’s beer have alcohol in it?”, and will tell you what O’douls is, how it is made, and a few important facts about non-beer and its safety.
Does O’ Doul’s Beer Have Alcohol In It?
Yes, O’ Doul’s beer does have alcohol in it, but not enough to be categorized as an alcoholic beverage.
O’Doul’s is classified as a near-beer manufactured by the company Anheuser Busch. It is regarded by federal and state regulations to be a ‘non-alcoholic’ beverage.
For a drink to be classified as alcoholic, it must have an alcoholic content of 0.5 percent and above. However, the reported alcoholic content of O’Doul’s beer is 0.4 percent, which in terms of alcoholic beverages, is considered low.
In many countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and Portugal, the ethanol content of alcohol free beer is restricted to 0.5% (v/v). In Belgian legislation, “ alcohol-free ” is used for a beer with less than 0.5% (v/v) alcohol and a specific gravity higher than 2.2°P, while the alcohol content % (v/v) ranges from 0.5% to 1.2% for low-alcohol beers. Other countries, like Italy and France, consider beer as “ alcohol-free ” if it has less than 1.2 % (v/v) of alcohol and as light beer if it has 1.2–3.5%. (v/v) of alcohol. In Denmark and The Netherlands the term “ alcohol-free ” may be applied to beer with less than 0.1% (v/v) of alcohol. “ Low-alcohol beer ” or “ reduced-alcohol beer ” is defined by the US Government as a beer with less than 2.5% (v/v) of alcohol. Furthermore, in the United States, “ near-beer ” or nonalcoholic beer means that it contains less than 0.5% (v/v) of alcohol by volume, while “ alcohol-free ” means that there is absolutely no alcohol present, that is to say, below the common analytical detection limit which is 0.05 (v/v) % of alcohol (1).
Can You Get Drunk From O’ Doul’s Beer?
Drinking non-alcoholic drinks such as O’douls will not get you drunk.
The small quantity of alcohol is immediately processed by the body, almost as soon as you drink it. So, it isn’t really absorbed by the blood and doesn’t travel to the brain, hence you don’t feel intoxicated. Although rates vary widely, the “average” metabolic capacity to remove alcohol is about 170 to 240 g per day for a person with a body weight of 70 kg. This would be equivalent to an average metabolic rate of about 7 g/hr. That is equivalent to 5 cans of 12 fl ounce in one hour (one can of O´doul contains 1.42 g alcohol) (2). That means, if you drink more than 5 cans in one hour, you might get drunk.
According to an experiment, you need to consume over 50 bottles of O’douls within an hour to be classified as legally drunk. So, unless you’re on an O’doul binging streak, the probability of this beverage getting you drunk is almost zero.
What are Near-Beer or Non-Alcoholic Beers Like O’ Douls?
Near-beer or non-alcoholic beverages are different kinds of malt liquors that contain lower than a specific percentage of alcohol.
O’douls is a similar malt beverage with a rich aroma and taste quite similar to that of real beer. It is made from water, corn, barley malt, hops, and high fructose corn syrup. A 12-ounce bottle of O’douls contains:
- 90 calories
- zero grams of fat
- 18 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of protein
Non-alcoholic beverages date back to before the Greek and Roman times, and were used as a substitute for water for health reasons. Back then, water was impure and contained germs, so adults and infants consumed alcohol and other drinks to avoid becoming ill. The history of brewing beer as part of human activity dates back to ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It was an effective method of maintaining hydration. The combination of carbohydrate and electrolytes may facilitate the absorption of water, as well as providing valuable additional dietary energy (calories), which was incredibly important at a time when energy expenditure was higher (3).
For instance, vinegar infused with herbs and honey, water, and sugar was a drink consumed by lower classes and was believed to prevent dysentery and fever.
How Is Non-Alcoholic Beer Produced?
The most common way to produce non-alcoholic beers is to modify the normal brewing process so that fermentation is limited and almost no ethanol is produced. There are several techniques for determining alcohol concentration by controlling the extent of fermentation. Moreover, beers produced in a traditional way and in different brands can be made alcohol free by using physical methods to remove the alcohol at the end of the production process. The biological methods used to produce alcohol-free beers do not usually require special extra plant, but rather a more accurately controlled process to prevent an overproduction of alcohol (3).
Are Non-Alcoholic Beverages Safe?
No, these beverages are not considered safe for everyone. The most obvious reasons an individual would consume a non-alcoholic beverage such as O’Doul’s are pregnancy, breastfeeding, and a variety of health complications. However, there is a catch.
Even though it is nearly impossible to get intoxicated from O’Doul’s beer, it is considered as a good idea to completely avoid the drink if someone is planning to stay away from alcohol. Contrary to popular belief, pregnant or lactating women are advised not to consume even near-beer since there isn’t any safe threshold of alcohol for fetuses or infants. Since it is unknown how much alcohol is required to result in adverse effects in their unborn children, pregnant women are encouraged to err on the side of caution, and therefore recommended to abstain from alcohol consumption during pregnancy in order to avoid the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (4).
Moreover, people suffering from certain health conditions, including fatty liver disease or pancreatitis, should also avoid drinking O’Doul’s. This is because even the negligible content of alcohol in the beverage can place a burden on the body to process it, causing further harm to the liver. Liver damage lowers the rate of alcohol oxidation and hence, elimination from the body (2).
And then there’s the unreliability of information provided by manufacturers. Certain non-alcoholic beverages may contain more alcohol content than what is stated on its label. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported that 13 out of 45 non-alcoholic drinks contained higher alcohol content than what was listed – this is almost 30 percent of the drinks (4).
Is it safe to consume non-alcoholic drinks by someone who is in recovery from alcohol or substance abuse is a debatable topic. Since some individuals can be triggered into a replacement if they consume even a hint of alcohol, non-alcoholic beverages should be consumed with extreme caution.
Other FAQs about Beer that you may be interested in.
In this brief article, we answered the question, “does O’ Doul’s beer have alcohol in it?” and told you what O’douls is, how it is made, and a few important facts about non-beer and its safety.
If you have any more questions or comments please let us know.
- Montanari, Luigi, et al. Production of alcohol-free beer. Beer in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2009. 61-75.
- Cederbaum, Arthur I. Alcohol metabolism. Clin liver dis, 2012, 16, 667-685.
- Mellor, Duane D., Bishoy Hanna-Khalil, and Raymond Carson. A review of the potential health benefits of low alcohol and alcohol-free beer: Effects of ingredients and craft brewing processes on potentially bioactive metabolites. Beverages, 2020, 6, 25.
- Goh, Y. Ingrid, Zulfikar Verjee, and Gideon Koren. Alcohol content in declared non-or low alcoholic beverages: implications to pregnancy. J Pop Ther Clin Pharmacol, 2010, 17.