Does Non-Alcoholic Beer Register On A Breathalyzer?

Written By Ian

In This Article...

I take a look at one of the common myths about non-alcoholic beer. Will it show up on a breathalyzer?

There are many myths about what can and can’t show up on a breathalyzer. One of the most common myths is that zero beer will show up on a breathalyzer.

However, as we know, a low or non-alcoholic beer still can have alcoholic content in them They can be up to 0.5% abv and still constitute a non-alcoholic beer.

So that makes people quite anxious if they want to drive after enjoying a few.

So let’s look at the facts behind zero beers & non-alcoholic beers and passing a breathalyzer test.

Quick Answer

It’s unlikely that non-alcoholic beer would cause a positive reading on a breathalyzer, but it’s not impossible. There are some situations where it can show up, such as a breathalyzer with a low threshold calibration, or drinking a non-alcoholic beer right before using a breathalyzer.

Can non-alcoholic beer show up on a breathalyzer?

The answer is no. (Within reason)

We say within reason, because there are still situations where your lungs can produce alcohol after consuming even a tiny amount. 

So, there are certain situations where non-alcoholic beer will fail a breathalyzer.

Let’s take a look at how and why this is possible to avoid you trying to explain a very awkward situation if you get pulled over.

A breathalyzer measures the breath from your lungs and not the inside of your mouth. It measures alcohol that is being expelled from the bloodstream in order to determine the blood alcohol level concentration in your body. 

The alcohol smell in your mouth is irrelevant.

It’s all about the time you consumed the traces of alcohol to when you do the breathalyzer test.

This video test carried out by Acumen Law show’s they fail a breathalyzer right after consuming a non-alcoholic beer.

So why is it you can still fail?

How do breathalyzers work?

A breathalyzer helps you measure the amount of alcohol in your blood, also known as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). 

After drinking alcohol, it gets absorbed into your blood from your stomach and small intestine. Then, your blood carries the alcohol through your body to your liver, brain, and into the lungs. 

When the alcohol settles in the lung tissues, you exhale alcohol when you breathe.

So technically, it’s not testing the alcohol in your blood, but more so what is in your lungs at the time of the test. 

Timing is everything

Taking this into account, 

The first 10 minutes after drinking alcohol are crucial to how much will show up on a breathalyzer test. 

During the first 10 minutes after consuming alcohol, the quantity of alcohol on your breath is significantly higher than it is later on. 

This is because there is still alcohol in your mouth that affects the reading.

During this time, you may register on a breathalyzer despite having consumed only a small amount of alcohol as the alcohol can still linger no matter how small the content.

Anything, from mouthwash to certain foods, even breath fresheners, can show up in a breathalyser test, if you are breathalysed too soon after consuming it.

So, a 0.5% beer can also show up if consumed right before a test.

To be safe, wait at least 10 minutes after your last drink before taking the test.

Does non-alcoholic beer fail an ignition interlock test?

Your ignition interlock has a much lower tolerance for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than a standard breathalyzer. 

Your BAC is restricted by an ignition interlock to a much lower limit than the .08 percent that legally defines you over the limit. 

An ignition interlock is usually somewhere between 0.02% – 0.03% BAC, which is significantly lower than the legal intoxication limit. 

At that limit, you could potentially set off an ignition interlock test after just a few non-alcoholic beers, even if you do not feel intoxicated in the slightest.

Again, the same way a breathalyzer can pick up mouthwash, your ignition interlock test can pick up low traces of alcohol. 

But, you won’t have to wait long for the traces to leave your lungs.

Probably an hour max depending how many low-alcohol drinks you’ve had before you can pass an interlock test.


Will Heineken 0.0 show up on a breathalyzer?

If you’re wondering whether Heineken 0.0 will show up on a breathalyzer, the answer is almost certainly not

While the alcohol content in Heineken 0.0 is technically no more than 0.02%, that is such a small amount that we can practically call it alcohol-free. 

Breathalyzers test for the amount of alcohol in the breath and lungs, and drinks like Heineken 0.0 will not cause a positive reading.

Will Guinness 0.0 show up on a breathalyzer?

Guinness 0.0% is much like Heinekens 0.0%. It contains absolute minute amounts of alcohol. No more than a carton of apple juice or soda.

Even though as a stout it might feel a little heavier than your normal zero beer to drink, it contains very minute traces of alcohol so it won’t be picked up on a breathalyzer

Will O Doul’s show up on a breathalyzer?

O Doul’s is a classic among most non-alcoholic drinkers.
This is where it gets slightly technical when it comes to O Doul’s being picked up by a breathalyzer.

As we mentioned before, the breathalyzer test can pick up on traces of alcohol in your lungs and breath. 

Because O Doul’s is around 0.04%, it does have a slightly higher trace of alcohol than Heineken 0.0%, so it is possible if you drink an O’ Doul’s right before being breathalyzed, it could cause a failed test.

But, waiting 15-30 minutes after taking a drink of O’ Doul’s you should be in the clear. 

Basically, don’t drink this one while you are actually driving.

Will Budweiser 0.0 show up on a breathalyzer?

Budweiser zero won’t register on a breathalyzer. 

Most non-alcoholic & zero beers will contain some trace amounts of alcohol.

However, Budweiser zero is one of the few that contains absolutely no alcohol and is one of the few true 0.0 beers.

Will Guinness 0.0 show up on a scram bracelet?

Guiness 0.0 contains as much alcohol as a soda can or apple juice. So it won’t be detected by a scram bracelet.

Will Heineken 0.0 show up on a scram bracelet?

Because the alcohol content is so low, Heineken 0.0 won’t be detected by a scram bracelet.

Will O Doul’s show up on a scram bracelet?

O Doul’s contains a little more alcohol than a typical 0.0 beer. So there is a possibility it can be detected on a scram bracelet. It’s best to stick with 0.0 beers to be safe.

Will non-alcoholic beer show up on a scram bracelet?

An actual 0.0 beer, with trace amounts of alcohol won’t be detected on a scram bracelet. But it’s best to stick with a zero beer, as low-alcohol or near beers can be picked up due to having 0.5% trace abv.

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