7 questions with Chris Hannaway, Infinite Session
Celebrating Mindful Drinking
At Brewgooder, we believe in supporting and celebrating communities, as well as championing other brands who are doing great things in their respective markets.
One such community is the growing population of "low and no" drinkers. This category includes those who abstain from alcohol completely, but also those referred to as Mindful drinkers - who are drinking less often than they used to, or choosing lower ABV products.
With Mindful Drinkers (particularly in the 18-25 category) driving a surge in healthier lifestyle choices, alcohol-free beers no longer consist of just two token options for the designated driver in the supermarket aisle. Instead there are now multiple players whose whole business is dedicated to alcohol-free beers, while many craft breweries have also increased their alcohol-free offering (don't worry Brewgooder fans, it's on our radar!)
We wanted to highlight a few brands doing great things for the Mindful Drinking space, from beers to soft drinks to kombucha.
Today we are catching up with Chris Hannaway of Infinite Session Brewing - an alcohol-free beer brand based in London.
1) Hi Chris! Tell us about yourself, Infinite Session, and what inspired you to launch an alcohol-free brewery?
I launched Infinite Session with my brother Tom in 2018, at Craft Beer Rising in London. We’re beer drinkers that love the flavour and experience of drinking a great beer, but don’t always want the buzz - or the hangover.
That's why we set out to make alcohol-free beers that taste as close as possible to the real thing, that are full of flavour and avoid that sweet after taste you get with a lot of alcohol-free beers at the time.
2) How do you make a beer alcohol-free? Talk us through the process!
We set out to add as much flavour to our recipe, without the alcohol. We found that by using a dealcoholisation process, we couldn’t get as much flavour - particularly for the Pale Ales and IPAs that we specialise in. So we use a higher number of different malts than usual, for complexity, flavour and body and make some tweaks to the timings and temperatures - but otherwise everything is the same as a regular craft brewery set up!
Chris (left) and Tom Hannaway, founders of Infinite Session.
3) How have public perceptions of your beer changed in the last few years?
I think when we started there was only a couple of recently launched craft alcohol-free options on the market, whereas now there’s a huge amount of options in the “craft” area and from the larger breweries - almost everyone has an AF option!
I’d like to think that’s because the stigma around alcohol-free beer has faded in that time and a lot more people are making healthy swaps for an AF beer every now and then.
4) What’s been your proudest moment for Infinite Session so far?
I’d say probably from the early days where we would have some quite big naysayers at our stand at beer festivals - first we convinced them to try it, and then they bought some from their own accord. That’s a massive thrill when you can see someones drinking habits potentially change in front of your eyes.
5) Any plans to expand your AF beer range or venture into other alcohol-free drinks?
So far, we’ve largely stuck to our core range of Pale, IPA and Pils, and did our first one-off IPA during lockdown called Stay Home to raise money for the NHS Covid Fund.
As much as I personally love experimentation and new development, we’ve tried to stay disciplined in that regard, as our belief has been that with alcohol-free beers, people that drink our beer value quality consistency over something new. That said, I’d love to branch out, so who knows next year!
6) Are you surprised at how quickly the category is growing and where do you see it in 5 years?
Not at all. I think there’s a lot more potential, whether that be in pubs, say on draft, or just reaching a lot more people across the country and encouraging them to change their habits a little bit, a little more often.
I think we’ll increasingly see people swap great AF beers somewhere into their weekly drinking repertoire and hopefully the best AF beers on the market continue to improve and taste even better!
7) Finally, if you could collaborate with any brewery in the world, who would it be and why?
Augustiner or Sierra Nevada - the two breweries that got me into great beer and know how to make a beer a classic!
If you're on the lookout for some alcohol-free beer options, check out Infinite Session!
DIGGING THE PERKS
- EARN IMPACT.
- UNLOCK REWARDS.
- LATEST IMPACT UPDATES.
- EXCLUSIVE BREWGOODER MERCH.