Lonely Planet Writer

Aboriginal non-alcoholic craft beers enter the market in Australia

London may have Seedlip, distilling non-alcoholic spirits to export to the world, but now Australia has its very own non-alcoholic craft beer company making cold brews infused with indigenous Australian ingredients.

Alcohol-free craft beer launched in Australia
Non-alcoholic craft beer range introduced in Australia. Photo by: Demetreminchev

Aboriginal owned and led, Sobah launched its unique non-alcoholic craft beers at Australia’s Cape Byron Distillery this month: cold cans of the premium non-alcoholic larger complemented a ‘bush tucker’ influenced menu at the launch party such as BBQ crocodile with Davidson plum and quandong sweet chilli sauce. Wash that down with a crisp booze-free Pilsner!

The two-year-old company is based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, home to the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Queensland may be famous for its sunshine, surfing and sailing, but when you add booze to the mix, many locals and visitors also wake up with sunburn, headaches and killer hangovers.

Foodie team Clinton Schultz, a Gamilaraay man, and his business partner and wife, Lozen, wanted to challenge the drinking culture in Australia by offering an alternative to the cold ‘tinnie’ that was not only free from alcohol but actually good for you.

Their brews are crafted with high-quality ingredients. The strain of yeast used in their craft beer doesn’t ferment into alcohol, in fact, it’s a probiotic. This means the drink can retain a light, fresh and crisp taste that complements an Aussie BBQ and please an adult who’s graduated from lemonade or ginger beer for refreshments.

The Lemon Aspen Pilsner is a fruity beer with grapefruit flavour notes from the native fruit infused in it. Indigenous to Far North Queensland the lemon aspen is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A & C. Their second Sobah beer is the Finger Lime Cerveza. The finger lime, aka ‘gulalung’ is an Australian native citrus fruit found around Northern New South Wales and Southeast Queensland. It’s rich in folate, potassium and Vitamins C & E.

alcohol-free craft beer introduced in Australia
Sobah alcohol-free craft beer launched in Australia. Photo by: Demetreminchev

The name Sobah is a play on the word ‘sober’ but ‘bah’ as a suffix in Yugambeh language signifies a place. ‘Sobah’ is a place of sobriety, “where a truly social drink can be enjoyed” explains Clinton.

At this stage, the two brews are available on tap from their Gold Coast-based food truck Clinto’s Kupmurri and from Sunrise Cellars in Byron Bay, with plans to distribute in Australia and potentially overseas where there’s been considerable interest from sober countries in the Middle East and Asia.