Simon Burhoe, one of the co-head brewers of KITna Brewing in front of the R&D brewing system. Credit: Courtesy of KITna Brewing

Maine already has at least 150 craft breweries, but a new one, launching this summer, will offer a different choice.

“So this brewery will be dedicated to non-alcoholic beer only — so 0.5 percent or less,” said Will Fisher, co-founder of KITna Brewing.

Fisher already makes regular craft beer at Portland’s Austin Street Brewery, but he said there was clearly a gap in the market. He and KITna’s co-founder, Rob Barrett, noticed that very few non-alcoholic beer options were available at all, and none of them tasted good.

“Where we got the idea for the brewery was like, we have to be able to make a great NA beer. There has to be a way to do it, and not do it in an odd way with weird ingredients and things to alter the beer,” Fisher said.

The company’s flagship NA beer is an American Blond Ale containing just water, hops, yeast and grain, but the plan is to make a full complement of beer styles from pale ales to stouts to seasonal specials. The idea is to have a delicious and practical replacement for the brews craft beer lovers want to drink.

“You have a drink on a weeknight and you want to have one more, but you want to make sure you’re feeling good in the morning or you’ve got to drive home. You replace it with this,” Fisher said. “Or maybe you don’t drink any alcohol at all, but you miss having a beer or you miss having a beverage in a social situation, so you grab one of these. Or maybe it’s just Dry January.”

Plus, Fisher said non-alcoholic beer is easier to distribute, and can be delivered with little trouble to people’s homes.

Fisher expects KITna’s first non-alcoholic brews to go on sale around Thanksgiving.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public.

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