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Can Non Alcoholic Beer Get You Drunk?

Can Non Alcoholic Beer Get You Drunk?

The market for non alcoholic beer is growing globally and in India. With non alcoholic beer brands launching their products left right and centre, people are curious to know more about this oxymoronic drink. It is highly popular among students who wish to abstain from alcohol but not from socialising and having fun with their friends. Non alcoholic beer is also preferred by people who are trying to cut back on alcohol for health reasons. Moreover, the taboo of drinking alcohol in daylight or with family is negated with this beer without alcohol.
Before we jump to answer if non alcoholic beer can make you drunk, let’s look at what is non alcoholic beer and the legal definition of being drunk in India.

What Is Non Alcoholic Beer?

In the UK and the US, beer with less than 0.5% of alcohol by volume (ABV) is considered non alcoholic beer. Low alcohol beer has an ABV of up to 1.2%. However, in India, for a beer to be labelled ‘non alcoholic’, the ABV has to be strictly 0.0%. 3Sisters non alcoholic beer is a zero alcohol beer with 0.0% ABV, just like other non alcoholic beer brands in India like Heineken 0.0 or Budweiser 0.0. However, it is worth knowing that even zero alcohol beers with 0.0 ABV contain trace amounts of alcohol which is a natural product of fermentation. This is a negligible amount of alcohol which is also found in other food items like rye bread, bananas, and apple juice.

What Does It Mean To Be Drunk?

For people who have been drinking for years, the idea of getting tipsy and drunk is not novel. You start feeling more carefree and relaxed, you're more likely to express your feelings openly, you feel more courageous to do stupid things, and overall you feel happily buzzed.
But more than being a subjective feeling, being drunk has been defined by law. As the alcohol level in your body increases, your motor coordination and movements become delayed. Your ability to perform a physical activity coherently decreases. Therefore driving a car, which requires your full attention and motor skills, when drunk can be extremely dangerous. Many people have lost their lives due to drunk driving. Therefore, the level of alcohol to be considered drunk mostly comes up in the context of driving. This definition changes from country to country.
For India, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol concentration is more than 0.3% according to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019. This means that if your body contains more than 30mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood, you will be considered drunk in India.
For other countries, the drunk driving limit is as follows:

0.05% in Australia
0.08% in China
0.05% in France
0.08% in the UK

Can Non Alcoholic Beer Get You Drunk?

A regular beer has an ABV of 5% to 8%. If we consider a non alcoholic beer containing 0.5% ABV, it would take you 10 beers to feel as drunk as with a regular beer. Moreover, since non alcoholic beer has negligible amounts of alcohol, your body metabolises it quickly, in about 17 minutes. If we compare it to a regular beer, it takes about 3 hours to process 5 to 8% of alcohol.

In 2012, a study was conducted in Germany to test the blood ethanol (alcohol) level after consuming non alcoholic beer. The non alcoholic beer used for this experiment contained upto 0.5% ABV. After 5 days of abstinence from alcohol, 78 test participants were asked to drink 1.5 litres of non-alcoholic beer (alcohol content 0.41–0.42%) within 1 hour. Blood samples were taken on a regular basis and analysed for alcohol. A total of 67 data sets could be interpreted and in 20 test persons alcohol was detected in blood. The maximum blood ethanol concentration was found to be 0.0056%. The results of this study clearly indicate that even after consuming an unrealistically high amount of non alcoholic beer, a person wouldn’t get drunk.

The Result Is Out

So, it is quite clear that non alcoholic beer cannot get you drunk. You can safely drive after a night of partying or while you’re on a roadtrip. Since non alcoholic beers in India like the 3Sisters non alcoholic beer have 0.0% ABV, getting drunk is impossible. Although, there is something known as the placebo effect where just because you are drinking ‘beer’ and are surrounded by people who’re drunk, you may feel buzzed. This is a psychological effect having no bearings on your physiology. Isn’t it great? Non alcoholic beer definitely won’t get you drunk, but if you’re likely to experience the placebo effect, you may feel drunk!
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