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Binary Botanical: a beer for the contemporary consumer

Here’s a fascinating bit of beer innovation created and launched in the UK by South African, Danielle Bekker, leveraging her impressive brewing qualifications and career experience.

Danielle Bekker - Binary Botanical

Bekker, a former SABMiller global brewing innovation director, has created Binary Botanical, a beer that offers mindful drinkers a ‘lighter, beer-like alternative to a glass of wine’.

Coming in at 4% ABV, the botanical beer is brewed with both hops and hop leaves: resulting in a ‘sophisticated, tangy beverage reminiscent of Prosecco’.

It seeks to provide a lower alcohol alternative to occasions previously best suited to a 12% ABV glass of wine.

And the brand has also launched a 0.5% version for those seeking to cut back alcohol consumption further.

After 20 years with SABMiller and AB InBev – and with a MBA and MSc in Malting & Brewing under her belt – Bekker co-founded Good Living Brewing Co and the Binary Botanical brand in the UK in 2018.

Based on the outskirts of the South Downs National Park, the brand launched her new beer, seeking to provide a new style of product, and one that’s a perfect example of the ‘fragmentation trend’ that’s so prevalent across many foodbev categories.

The drink seeks to appeal to drinkers who wouldn’t usually turn to beer: but want something lower in alcohol than wine and something less sweet than a cider and more sophisticated than a fruit juice.

Using waste from hops

While most beers are brewed using hop cones, Binary Botanical is infused with organic hop leaves which normally go to waste. The beer still uses hops, however, but at a very low level – ‘hops are key for delivering that beer refreshment’.

The hop leaves are what makes the beer a botanical beer: contributing a ‘unique tangy slightly herbal taste – almost like a tea infusion’.

Hop leaves are added during fermentation where they are infused for a minimum of five days.

The brand sources organic hops in Worcester and uses two English varieties: Sovereign and First Gold (both bred in 1995 at Wye College in the UK).   

“​I guess all beer is botanical with the use of the hops, but the addition of a different flavour through the leaves is what we are trying to convey,”​ Bekker explained to BeverageDaily. ​

“It’s of interest because not only does it deliver a completely different flavour profile, it is also very sustainable with its use of a waste product as a core ingredient.”​

So what’s the result when it comes to taste? “​It is very aromatic, a lot of tropical fruit notes – passion fruit, peach, grapefruit etc.  It is quite tangy with a slightly herbal taste (pepper, rosemary) due to the hop leaf infusion.  ​

“It’s sugar free: so it’s definitely more tangy towards the kombucha end of the spectrum. ​It is slightly less carbonated than a normal beer so that is less bloating when you have it with food.  The mouthful is light – definitely not full bodied – with slight astringency.”​

Developing a 0.5% version

With a 4% ABV beer that is designed to be drunk like a 12% ABV wine, Binary Botanical can help drinkers cut the volume of alcohol consumed.

But for consumers seeking to cut their alcohol intake further, Binary Botanical has since launched a 0.5% version.

“It’s a brewed 0.5% ABV – the brewing process and ingredients designed to limit fermentable sugar production. ​

“The 0.5% is definitely lighter – I would say more like a non-alcoholic adult drink instead of lime and soda to have with a meal whereas the 4% is a low alcohol alternative to a glass of wine with some added refreshment.”​

Binary Botanical is celebrating a new listing with Sainsbury’s, hitting shelves at the supermarket at the beginning of November.

Source:; Binary Botanical

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