E-sports & Non-Alcoholic Beer

Written By Ian

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Sports and beer are an age-old combination, but does beer, or rather, non-alcoholic beer, have a place in the E-sports world?

Non-alcoholic beer is becoming increasingly popular, with global sales exceeding $31 billion in 2022. 

Since the consumption of non-alcoholic beer is rising, it would only be natural for E-sports lovers to want to indulge in a few while playing their favorite games. The chances of them getting drunk and messing up are zero, so it shouldn’t be a problem, right?

This is likely what breweries are thinking and partnerships between them and E-sport events are becoming the norm. In recent times, AB InBev, an international brewing company, formed a partnership with Riot Games, and Miller Lite partnered up with Complexity Gaming, the E-sports team owned by Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys.

With non-alcoholic beer’s popularity and sales growing steadily (with an expected annual growth of almost 14%), these kinds of partnerships are sure to become even more mainstream.

Ethics of Advertising to a Younger Audience

One of the biggest issues people may have with non-alcoholic beer and the younger participants of E-sports is the ethics involved. Although non-alcoholic beer is meant to be alcohol-free, there are still small traces of alcohol in it. Nothing harmful, but still.

This may have parents wondering if it would be okay for their children to drink non-alcoholic beverages. According to this survey from SoraNews, many people feel that even alcohol-free drinks should not be served to children or teenagers under 20.

Is it ethical for a brewery selling non-alcoholic drinks to advertise to a younger audience? This is a debate that could carry on for years, and it depends on how you feel about alcohol in general.

Should non-alcoholic beer change its labeling and messaging so it can be viewed more like a root beer or soda? On paper, this sounds like a good idea. But parents may not feel the same, as there will still be the idea of ‘beer’ and underage children.

Culture and traditions may also come into play. In the Czech Republic, for example, 23% of children drink flavored non-alcoholic beers, and 3% actually drink flavored beer that contains alcohol.

Some people feel that youngsters should not be exposed to beer in any form, and some experts feel that giving children non-alcoholic beer makes them used to the bitter taste, putting them at risk of alcohol abuse in the future.

Ultimately, it might come down to personal choice and what the local society thinks of children and beer.

Non-alcoholic Beer as a Recovery Drink for Athletes

A non-alcoholic beer sports drink sounds like a strange idea, but it’s actually quite popular among German athletes. Apparently, non-alcoholic beer has been earmarked as an effective recovery drink in parts of Germany and it’s considered a great recovery drink to sip on after athletic activities.

It’s so popular that at the end of the 2017 Berlin Marathon, 30,000 bottles of Erdinger’s non-alcoholic wheat beer were handed out to those who finished the race. And this Bavarian brewery isn’t the only one that has partnered with athletes.

Krombacher 0% was a partner of the Association of German Cyclists in 2018 and even supplied Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games athletes with more than 3,000 liters of their beer.

If athletes can benefit from and enjoy non-alcoholic beverages in this fashion, why can’t gamers and E-sports participants?

There are many reasons why alcohol-free beer is a better choice than soda. For example, 0% alcohol beer contains more antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and proteins, and less sugar than soda.

Another reason for gamers to love non-alcoholic beer is the fact that it won’t make you fat like  normal beer consumption can. Alcohol-free beers are generally 95% water and low in calories, so they aren’t fattening.

With all these facts kept in mind, there is no reason not to serve chilled alcohol-free beers at E-sports events.

Should E-sports Be Strictly 0.0% Beers?

E-sports are no longer seen as something strictly enjoyed by teenagers and children—they are highly competitive events enjoyed by mostly adults. And just like any other sporting event that involves adults, beer and other alcoholic beverages aren’t considered taboo.

Of course, serving alcohol isn’t quite normal, but sponsorships are common, with brands like Ballantine’s, Johnnie Walker, and Heineken advertising at an event in Brazil, for example.

Does this mean alcohol should be available for drinking at E-sports gatherings? Maybe not, as most of the participants and guests would rather focus on gaming than getting drunk.

As such, non-alcoholic beers might be very welcome as they are not going to cause intoxication or health problems. E-sports players can enjoy the taste of an ice-cold beer without worrying that they’ll mess up after a few rounds.

Sponsorships between breweries and E-sports events are definitely a good thing and are helping more people take part in them and enjoy the fun that is to be had with competitive gaming.

Because there are many children either taking part in E-sports or watching the players, any beverages served should be strictly alcohol-free. Although the children’s parents may not allow them to drink even 0% beer, at least there won’t be the risk of them getting exposed to anything stronger at these events.

Non-alcoholic Beer and Gaming

Gen Z is increasingly turning away from alcohol, preferring a sober curious lifestyle, so non-alcoholic beer might become their drink of choice at E-sports, gaming livestreams, and other gaming events. The future looks good for non-alcoholic beer, and it’s likely that it will become the most popular choice at gaming conventions and similar occasions since it doesn’t come with the risk of inebriation. 

Non-alcoholic beer can be a great way to unwind while gaming without losing concentration. This can be seen after the recent partnership between Heineken and Riot Games, which saw Heineken become a sponsor of the Brazilian League of Legends Championship.

These guys take their games very seriously, and if they trust Heineken’s 0.0% beer, the rest of us can too. As long as the marketing of these drinks is ethical, it can and should be welcomed as part of E-sports in the future.

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