Adnams Zero Alcohol Ghost Ship

30 August 2018

Adnams zero alcohol Ghost Ship

I’ve been a fan of Adnams for a decade and a half, pretty much since I moved into Suffolk back in 2001. First it was just because of the quality of the beer. The village pub at that time carried Adnams real ale and they knew how to look after it. It was a fine beer - distinctive and flavourful.

But then, in addition, as I worked on teasing out some of the best practices of businesses in terms of their corporate social responsibility and sustainability, Adnams began to raise its head as one of the more passionately committed medium-sized businesses out there. They were serious about reducing their environmental impact. They were heavily committed to investing in their local communities.

It was Adnams that was the first to launch a zero-carbon beer. And when it moved the location of the brewery, it put together a state-of-the-art premises with a living roof and all sorts of other environmentally-friendly features. In short, it is a fabulous beer I am proud to drink.

So I was somewhat intrigued when I was visiting Southwold - the home of Adnams - a few days ago. The sun was shining as it had been for two months (barring the odd aberration). I’d been mooching around the town looking for whatever it might have to offer. I was about to make my way to the dock side to get some freshly-caught local seafood, and stopped on the pier for a quick bite to eat and a chilled beer.

That was when I first saw that they had Adnams beer, including its Ghost Ship brand - nothing unusual there for Southwold - but which also had listed a zero alcohol Ghost Ship. For me, as a real ale drinker of decades, the biggest downside of zero alcohol beers has been that they are all fizzy lagers. I’d just accepted the basic proposition that it would be too difficult to get a zero alcohol ale that actually had a decent similarity to the conventional product.

But if Adnams, who really care about the quality of what they do, were now offering a zero alcohol Ghost Ship, then that would be worth tasting. With rising hope and expectation, I ordered it. 

Only to be told it had sold out. “They can’t make it fast enough” I was told. Well, that was frustrating. But also, when you think about it, a rather good sign.

I’d just about resigned myself to filing the incident at the back of my mind, to be withdrawn at some unspecified moment in the future when I happened to stumble upon the product again, when I logged into twitter and saw one of my contacts had retweeted a message from Adnams saying that their zero alcohol Ghost Ship was available once again. I clicked the link, and within seconds I’d bought eight bottles to be delivered directly to my home the very next day. Mission accomplished.

When they arrived, I wasted no time in sampling the first one. Lunchtime it may be, but - hey - it’s zero alcohol so that’s no barrier to my productivity for the afternoon. 

It didn’t disappoint. Of course, ales in bottles do have a slight fizziness you won’t get from the pump - that’s standard and I don’t mind that so much. But the point was that it tasted of a pretty decent ale, and you wouldn’t really have thought or noticed that it was lacking in the alcohol department. Frankly, it was good enough that if I fancied a beer in the evening, especially if I’m working on something which I often am in the evening (work life balance? Nah) I would reach for these without hesitation. It is the first such beer I could say this off, because even though brands like Bitburger Drive are a moderately acceptable drink on those occasions when I need to stay off the alcohol, they’re still just a substitute for the real thing. 

The only downside here is that I can imagine supply of this beer will remain rather constrained in the short term. It’s all very well having it at home to pull from the fridge as and when the mood takes you, but really you want it as an option at the pub or the cafe when you’re wearing the Designated Driver badge. Hopefully that will follow shortly.


For the avoidance of doubt, by the way, this blog post has been in no way commissioned by, or discussed with, Adnams.