Freestar – A Flavour Packed Alcohol Free Beer
Freestar is a new and exciting alcohol free beer. Going against the trend of big breweries who produce dealcoholised versions of existing brands, the creators of Freestar have gone back to the drawing board and designed a new way of brewing. The result is a drink that is packed full of flavour and guaranteed to be alcohol free.
With their bold flavours and fearless branding, I was keen to learn more about the company and people behind this unique alcohol free beer. I spoke with Eddy Dallas, one of the three founders of Freestar to find out about their not-so-short history, record label branding and what is the Guinness Test?
A Not-So-Brief History of Freestar
Freestar is the new alcohol free beer to the market in 2019, but its journey started long before then. In early 2017, three friends Charlie Crawley, Felix von Hurter & Eddy Dallas formed Freestar after getting tired of the non-alcoholic options they found in pubs. They didn’t want overly sugary soft drinks or a bland alcohol free version of an established brand.
They wanted an alcohol free drink with the same complex flavours as traditional alcoholic drinks. It had to be something that you’d happily drink all night with the same feel as your favourite alcoholic drink but without giving hangover regrets at the gym the next morning. The founders nicknamed this assessment as the Guinness Test. “We wanted an alcohol free beer that you’d happily ‘cheers’ with a pint of Guinness with and made you feel like you’re not missing out” explained Eddy.
Backgrounds in Disruption
Eddy, Felix and Charley have been friends for many years. During the long gestation period of Freestar, they each remained in their day jobs while they developed the new drink. Once the finished drink was ready to start production the three handed in their notices and worked on Freestar full time. Eddy left his role of FD at Propercorn, Charlie gave up a role at Tesla and Felix left his role as head of export at Sipsmith.
All these companies have positively disrupted their marketplace. The three founders are now working to ensure Freestar will have the same impact on the alcohol free drinks industry.
Flavour Created, Not Destroyed
Taste is obviously key to Freestar’s success. The Freestar team started by researching how existing alcohol free drinks were made. Traditionally mainstream breweries take their standard product and evaporate away the alcohol. However, alcohol has great abilities to hold complex flavours together, so removing the alcohol often leaves a malty or overcooked drink that has lost its balance and the original drinks flavour characteristics.
Eddie, Charlie and Felix didn’t like the sound of this process. As Eddy explains “we didn’t like the idea of building up a drink and all its complex flavours, only to break it down again to try and remove the alcohol – it seemed drawn out, overly complex and probably very wasteful”. They spoke with people in the industry who confirmed the best way to make a drink retain its flavour would be to never ferment the alcohol and instead build the flavours in from the beginning.
Easier Said Than Done
One of their major challenges was how to build this complex flavour drink without fermenting alcohol. They teamed up with a brewer who had experience in R&D at one of the world’s largest drinks manufacturers who initially estimated it’d take two months. However, the process proved more challenging and with the founders’ unwillingness to compromise on taste, the two months quickly increased.
After 20 months of development they found the method that gave them the great tasting, complex flavoured drink they were searching for. Most importantly, they had spent the time honing the brand aesthetic, so the bottle design now passed the Guinness Test with flying colours.
Flavour Without Compromise
The founders are rightly delighted with the flavours in Freestar. Their website proudly proclaims they put “flavour first. And second. And third” and hails the new production process they’ve developed to brew this incredible drink.
So how do they get these incredible and complex flavours without the alcohol? “Freestar still has the same base components as traditional beers - with malted barley, hops and water going into the mix, but the key ingredient for traditional beer, yeast, is missing. Without this, there can be no fermentation which is how Freestar can guarantee the 0.0% abv” explains Eddy.
The secret to these complex flavours is the four citrus fruits they use to build the flavours. In Eddy’s opinion “the Bergamot is the key ingredient. It gives Freestar its own identity.” However, it’s not all about the citrus fruits as Eddy explains “as well as the citrus flavours, the perle hops give a floral and savoury note”.
Food & Freestar
With all the flavours contained within Freestar, what does Eddy recommend eating with a bottle of Freestar in hand? “We’ve found it goes best with heavy foods like doughy pizzas or Indian as it cuts through the heaviness of the foods. In fact, one of London’s premium Indian restaurants has recently started serving Freestar as they agreed that it complimented their dishes so well” suggest Eddy.
Continue to part 2.
Enjoy the Good Stuff
Don’t forget, you can try it yourself here.
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