Brooklyn Brewery Launches Special Effects Alcohol-Free Beer in Sweden

NEW YORK — On December 1, Brooklyn Brewery announced the launch of their first alcohol-free beer, Special Effects. The beer, a hoppy lager with an ABV of 0.4%, launched exclusively in Sweden with plans to expand to other markets throughout 2019.

Brooklyn Special Effects is a hoppy lager with an unexpected piney aroma and pleasantly bitter finish. The beer gets its rich hue and bready sweetness from a blend of pale, caramel, and dark roasted Munich malts, and its surprising nose from dry-hopping with Mosaic, Citra and Amarillo hops–a technique rarely used in alcohol-free brewing. It tastes just like a regular beer, but therein lies the special effect: it’s not.

Special Effects is the first alcohol-free beer to ever be released by The Brooklyn Brewery. “ If you look at Europe, where customs and attitudes towards alcohol are much more progressive, you see consumers appreciating the role of non-alcoholic beer as an everyday component of healthy lifestyles and responsible drinking,” says Eric Ottaway, CEO of Brooklyn Brewery. “We set out to brew a beer for more places, more occasions, and more people. The goal was to brew something that could find its place during midday lunch breaks, work happy hours, pre-workouts, post-workouts, watching the kids, very late nights at the bar, and so on.”

In some countries the alcohol-free beer segment is approaching 10% market share. With Sweden in particular, every tenth beer sold in the grocery store is alcohol-free, which is one of the reasons the company looked to the country as their initial launch market.

“The request was a surprise to me, as alcohol-free beer doesn’t have a such a positive connotation in the United States. So my main concern was that our version was genuinely worthy of our reputation. A Brooklyn AFB needed to be really nice and flavorful,” says Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery’s Brewmaster. “We wanted to develop a recipe where the drinker might not know that it was an alcohol-free beer unless someone told them. And also a beer that someone would want more than one pint of.”

Brooklyn plans for Special Effects to roll out in the UK, France, and most of Europe in 2019. In the US, development and testing of non-alcoholic offerings began in 2018 and will continue into 2019.

Want to chat more about Alcohol-Free, Non-Alcoholic, or alternative-beer? Contact Samantha Itzkovitz (

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