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When Beer Isn’t For You, What Do You Do?

Beer is a staple of American social culture, prominently featured at many social venues such as bars, sporting events, and even just the casual family barbeque. Yet, there are substitutes to beer for a wide variety of tastes and preferences.

Wine is chosen typically to pair with a meal, as wine can alter the taste of meals. Sweetness and acidity of a wine can most heavily affect the taste of one’s food, with similar texture components being the most successful. Meaning, acidic wines and acidic food can go well together, and sweet wines that are paired with slightly sweet food works well with most taste palettes. Of course, tastes buds operate differently based on age and other factors, but these general rules of thumb hold for many people. Wine can be an appropriate substitute for beer when a person desiring alcohol wants to complement their meal as well.

Liquor, or spirits, such as vodka, tequila, and rum, can be common replacements for beer as well. Liquor is uniquely different from beer and wine in the fact that it can be mixed with other drinks to create a variety of different options for the drinker at hand. Fruit juices such as orange, pineapple, lime and even tomato can be combined with different liquors for many different alcohol experiences.

Photo for Hola Tequila Book
A common tequila drink, the margarita


Extensive recipe lists have been created by people whose careers are predicated as bartenders that can concoct the most interesting and delicious cocktails. In addition to the many options that liquor presents, its higher alcohol concentration in comparison to beer allows someone to obtain an enjoyable buzz much easier than beer can supply, all with drinking less and not being as full, which can ruin an appetite.

Of course, those substitutes assume that you are substituting beer with another alcoholic choice. If you don’t desire the feeling that alcohol provides, but enjoy the taste or other aspect of beer, then non-alcoholic beer may be the option for you. Non-alcoholic beer is beer that falls under .5% alcohol according to U.S. law. O’Douls is a popular non-alcoholic beer available in the United States, however, it has gained in popularity outside of the U.S as reported by The Economist, namely in the Middle East and other regions where alcohol is more restricted. Anheuser Busch and other major breweries have entered the non-alcoholic beer market, and it will be interesting to see its progression in the market.


  1. Katie Katie

    The percentage of Americans who drink alcohol has remained the same (around 60%) but many young adults are turning away from beer in favor of liquor or wine. Women especially are switching to wine, and currently only account for 20% of beer consumption. Brewing companies have traditionally geared their advertisements towards men, but in the face of a shrinking market they may want to begin appealing more to women as well.

    • waiteh16 waiteh16

      America’s recent focus on health trends and healthier living has also led to a cut back on beer consumption, as craft beers and other heavier brews can carry heavy calorie counts.

  2. Isn’t water a substitute for beer? Why just alcoholic beverages? Note of course that aggregate beer consumption is down in a growing population in a growing economy. But in practical terms – corporate strategy – the focus on mixed drinks and near-beer may be about as good as it gets.

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