While Trappist beer is "abbey beer," not all "abbey beer" is Trappist.
The Leffe brewing label announced, earlier this year, that they would make history as the first abbey beer company to produce a non-alcoholic version of their famous Belgium brew. The move follows a surge in the popularity of non-alcoholic beverages, a growing trend in 2019.
Brewed by monks, or by companies to whom the monks license their methods, Belgium’s abbey beers are a staple of the country’s culture. Known for their high alcohol content, the decision marks a distinct broadening of their line of products.
The Telegraph reports that Belgium, where, in a recent survey, 62% of the population said they drank too much, has been fast to jump on the non-alcoholic bandwagon. In 2018, sales of non-alcoholic beer rose 30% in the country of 11.35 million.
The change was decided by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewing company. In 2016, AB InBev launched non-alcoholic versions of Budweiser and Corona, which CNN Business notes have been well received. The brewing company has predicted that 20% of the world’s beer production will be focused on non-alcoholic beer by 2025.
Leffe’s non-alcoholic brew is significantly different from other brands, because they brew their non-alcoholic beer normally and remove the alcohol from the finished product. They believe that this “de-alcoholization” process is what protects the flavor of the beer, whereas other such products are brewed without all the ingredients.
Arnaud Hanset, of AB InBev, spoke of the new beer to the Telegraph:
“We are proud to have been the first to succeed, thanks to the expertise of our brewers, to produce a non-alcoholic beer that is completely faithful to the quality and authenticity of the beer of Leffe abbey.”
It should be noted that while Trappist beers are “abbey beers,” not all “abbey beers” are considered Trappist. Although the brewing methods are the same, Trappist beers devote a portion of their profits to charity, while “abbey beers” are usually run by third-party companies, who license the beer from the monks.
Leffe’s non-alcoholic beer, Leffe Blonde, is already on sale. Order yours here.