Modus Operandi Brewing Co. co-founder Jaz Wearin last week announced that she was spearheading the launch of a no-alcohol beer called Nort.
The non-alcoholic ale, which carries less than 0.5% abv, is marketed as low cal and plant-based and will be sold nationally in Dan Murphys, BWS and independent bottle-shops and grocers.
‘Near beer’ offerings including no and low alcohol brewed drinks, alcoholic kombucha, seltzers or even hopped soft drinks such Heads of Noosa’s Hop Water have been a major focus over the last six months as brewers work to efforts to diversify not only product ranges but audiences.
Low and no alcohol beers provided challenges for small brewers, due to challenges in achieving shelf-stability.
Nort is contract-brewed but not pasteurised. Wearin explained that she worked with her production partners to create a recipe and method to avoid the need, in keeping with the approach at Modus.
While a new brand, Nort it is still part of the Modus family and developed and run by the Modus team, and Wearin explained this was a conscious decision.
“In my opinion, different styles of beverages, whether that be beer, wine, seltzers or non-alcoholic beverages need their own personality,” she said.
“Modus was designed to be confident in its big fresh flavourful beer nature and that is displayed throughout our marketing.
“Nort has a different personality. Different messaging. It’s quietly confident and organic in its nature. The messaging is around Enjoy More. Enjoy more beer, more freedom, more flavour.”
Additionally, launching a brand ancillary to the main company allows companies to develop brand portfolios that can adapt to changing trends.
“We also didn’t feel like we could pull out the benefits of the non-alcoholic space without giving this beer its own brand. It certainly would have been easier/cheaper to spin off a Modus non-alc, but we aren’t here for the short run and feel Nort will have more success and longevity as a new brand.”
Nort is primarily Jaz’s project. Jaz said she had experienced in her own life a need for balance, as well as missing the taste of the amber liquid when she was pregnant, but it was still a Modus effort.
“The success of this product will be down to [team effort]. I have learnt a few things in the last six years and it has been nice to create a new brand with this knowledge and a segment I am passionate about,” she explained.
Running counter to current trends, the team also made the decision to move to bottles, identifying it as a separate product to Modus’s core range in format as well as style.
“When we got to know Nort a little better during the concept stage we just saw it in bottles. And now when I get a cold bottle out of the fridge, it feels and tastes right for the Refreshing Ale it is. Some styles just belong in a bottle, and I think a Refreshing Ale is one of these styles.”
Nort’s origin story taps into a number of ongoing trends in the food and drink sector, namely that of wellness, and Wearin explained that the low alcohol beer is not aimed at any one group in particular.
“Nort is about balance and enjoyment for all. This beer is easy-drinking in its nature, a refreshing ale with a great fruity aroma, a subtle bitterness and a crisp finish.
“We are excited to be able to provide the non-alcoholic consumer, whether that be for personal reasons or beliefs or pregnancy (because that is a long time without beer!) a beer that tastes and smells like a 100% crafted beer without the fuzzies.
“Nort is also for the person like myself, my family and friends that enjoy a full-flavoured, full-hopped, alcoholic beer, but balance it with a Nort so we can drive home, put our kids to sleep, get up in the morning for a surf or jog and then hit the day head on.”