Posted: Dec 14, 2011 at 10:13 AM
(Last Updated: Dec 29, 2011 at 10:59 AM)
Marketed as the first “beer” to be 0.00% ABV, Kirin Free is a malt-based beverage that does not contain yeast (which is what produces alcohol). The aroma of the product is very much like a typical American Pilsner with a malt note and subtle taste of hops. We’d say the same about the flavor, which relies upon malt and a lot of carbonation to trick your palate into thinking that this is beer. To that end, it needs improvement -- it would be hard to consume a full bottle of this product as your palate gets overwhelmed with malt. Since this is not an alcoholic beverage, the product contains a nutrition panel and ingredients list. Ingredients include water, barley malt, glucooligosaccharide, high fructose corn syrup, hops, acidulant, flavoring, amino acid, and vitamin C. All in all, this product is about what you’d expect from a non-alcoholic beer. Packaging is a 11.3 oz. amber bottle, with raised Kirin lettering on it. While the glass bottle looks nice, the label is rather messy, ethnic (it has Japanese lettering), and dated. If they want to seriously market this in the US, we think that a visual overhaul and better name are needed. Overall, it’s an interesting product in the sense that it truly has no alcohol, but it’s something that is currently not positioned as a real alternative to regular beer.