IT'S BEEN a long wait, but it's been worth it.
Ireland's most popular drink can now be enjoyed by everyone, whether or not they drink alcohol.
Drinks giant Diageo have announced Guinness 0.0, the new drink they say "boasts the same beautifully smooth taste, perfectly balanced flavour and unique dark colour of Guinness"-- just without the alcohol.
The alcohol-free Guinness is the result of a four-year-long project by the experts at St James' Gate in Dublin, where the stout has been brewed for over 260 years and is set to continue for centuries.
The product was first launched in October 2020 but was recalled just a month later as a precautionary measure after a 'microbiological contamination' which may have made some cans 'unsafe to consume'-- not exactly a good start.
But after an assessment from the Food Standards Agency, Diageo have now recommenced their production of Alcohol-Free Guinness to the "highest standards of quality that we and our Guinness drinkers expect", and they will hit shelves again very soon.
Guinness 0.0 is made in the exact same way as the original, using the same natural ingredients of barley, hops, yeast and water, before the alcohol is removed using a cold filtration method.
The cold filtration allows the stout to keep its taste, look and texture, and the resulting product is "unmistakably Guinness"-- according to Diageo, an independent panel of taste-testers found that the alcohol-free version exceeded expectations, with testers announcing the taste was "outstanding".
Gráinne Wafer, Global Brand Director at Guinness, lauded the initial launch of the alcohol-free product as "an exceptional day" for the company.
"The launch of Guinness 0.0 highlights our long-held commitment to innovation, experimentation, and bravery in brewing, harnessing the power of our brewers and our ingredients, to create an alcohol-free beer that is 100% Guinness but 0% alcohol.
"We know people want to be able to enjoy a Guinness when they choose not to drink alcohol without compromising on taste, and with Guinness 0.0 we believe they will be able to do exactly that.”
Innovation Brewer at St James's Gate, Aisling Ryan, referenced the company's "unwavering commitment to quality" and said the brewing team is "hugely proud of the care and effort that has been put into the four year development process for Guinness 0.0".
"We have created a taste experience that we believe is truly unrivalled in the world of non-alcoholic beer and we can’t wait for people to finally be able to try it!”
Plus, as pubs open across Ireland once more following a significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Guinness 0.0 will also be available on draught, with bar staff able to slot a can of the alcohol-free Black Stuff into a special Micro-Draught and serve the pint in the traditional two-part pour.
Whether you're considering giving up alcohol, quit years ago but miss the taste of the Black Stuff, don't feel like dealing with a hangover or are simply curious to see if the alcohol-free version is as good as they say, you can try cans of the new product very soon this year in Ireland and the UK.