09:30 - 10:15 : Reception and registration

10:15 - 10:20 : Peter Croonenberghs - Sandra Vanhove - intro to NABLAB

The NABLAB Brewing Conference is composed for all enthusiasts of brewing innovation and originates from the compelling societal trend that increasingly shapes our drinking culture: the growing popularity of non-alcoholic beverages. The conference includes 7 presentations seamlessly coordinated into a coherent whole. These are complemented by booths from companies wanting to showcase their added value in the field of NABLAB. Today, we invite you to embark on a discovery journey with us into the challenging world of brewing non-alcoholic beers.

10:20 - 10:40 : Peter Croonenberghs - NABLAB legislation and excise

With the increasing demand for non-alcoholic beverages as a backdrop, we will focus first on the most recent legislation and regulations (with their many nuances) regarding the production and distribution of non-alcoholic beer, with special attention to Belgium and the Netherlands. From defining what is truly considered alcohol-free in these regions to unraveling the complexity of labeling requirements, and finally touching on the aspect of excise duties.

10:50 - 11:10 : Joeri De Maere - NABLAB microbiology threats

Unlike traditional beers, NABLAB beers cannot benefit from the aseptic advantages of alcohol. The presence of spoilage microorganisms, acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, unwanted yeasts, and other potential contaminants thus pose a constant threat to the taste, aroma, appearance, and even the overall safety of non-alcoholic beers. Breweries are therefore facing a significant challenge if they want to respond to the growing 0% mindset of their customers. Various solutions will be proposed during the upcoming presentations, catering to both large and small brewers.

11:20 - 11:30 : Coffee break (Share a Dinner)

11:30 - 11:50 : Ben Souffriau - An overview of different NAB production methods and their impact on quality, taste and sustainability.

Today’s leading technologies for production of non and low alcohol beer, like distillation, membrane dealcoholisation or maltose negative yeast, each have strengths and weaknesses, for instance related to investment costs, stripping of beer or hop aromas, consumption of energy and raw materials. We will provide practical insights on the different methods and explain which method is most suitable depending on the desired product characteristics. The good news is that modern technologies enable craft brewers to make low alcohol beer that is just as good or even more tasty than that of big industrial brewers. - AB Biotek has screened more than 3000 yeast strains for production of low alcohol beer. The result is an innovative yeast strain solution that allows craft brewers to overcome investment hurdles and offers industrial brewers options to produce in more sustainable ways. Furthermore, Pinnacle brewing strains are produced in a new state-of-the-art production plant that delivers the high quality and purity that is indispensable for low alcohol beer production.

12:00 - 12:20 : Elia Myncke - Alternative Yeasts in Practice: Comparison of Commercial Options for NABLAB Production

The growing global demand for non- and low-alcoholic beers (NABLAB) is driving exploration of alternative yeasts that do not metabolize maltose and/or maltotriose. Despite the availability of commercial options, comprehensive comparative studies were lacking, posing a challenge for brewers. In response, we produced test beers on a 20 L scale, comparing nine different commercial NABLAB yeasts. We also explored the combination of promising yeasts with alternative grains and malts. Chemical and sensory evaluations provide brewers insights into the impact of these yeasts, aiming to provide knowledge for the development of high-quality, characteristic non- or low-alcoholic beers. This research, conducted through the TETRA project NABLAB, focused on comparative studies and was led by the IBF | Innovation centre for Brewing & Fermentation (UGent/HOGENT), with KU Leuven Gent as research partners.

12:30 - 14:30 : Walking lunch (Share a Dinner) and booth visits

14:30 - 14:50 : Luc Aeyels - Microbial Stabilisation of non-alcoholic beer

NABLAB beers are very susceptible to microbial contaminations due to their low alcohol content and potential residual sugar. Therefore, these beers need to be stabilized, both in terms of fermentation degree (further fermentation would lead to higher alcohol percentages and oversaturation) and bacterial infection (off-flavors). Two techniques are commonly used for this purpose: flash pasteurization (briefly heating and then cooling) deactivates the live yeast and bacteria, or sterile filtration, which removes the present microorganisms from the beer through microfiltration. Flash pasteurization and sterile filtration do require an aseptic treatment of the filling line and packaging to avoid cross-contaminations.

15:00 - 15:20 : Michaël Dahmen / Vijay Nahar - How Non-Alcoholic Beer Can Benefit From Natural Protection with Nagardo®

Non-alcoholic and low-alcohol beers are often susceptible to infections. Lanxess sought a natural antimicrobial solution and developed Nagardo®. The presentation will discuss the various applications of Nagardo® in non-alcoholic beer and highlight its value in reducing energy-intensive production processes in bottles and cans, particularly as a persistent antimicrobial agent for keg applications.

15:30 - 15:50 : Alexandre Thomas - Flavor innovation of non-alcoholic beers

The aroma of non-alcoholic beers poses a challenging aspect in the production process, as maintaining a rich and appealing scent without the presence of alcohol requires a delicate balance. The absence of alcohol can result in a less complex aroma, making it crucial for breweries to find innovative solutions to compensate for this. We previously discussed alternative yeast strains, and experimentation with hop and malt varieties is underway. However, brewers can also turn to the addition of natural flavors and extracts to enhance the complexity of the bouquet. Metarom - a specialist in the production of flavorings and aromas - can make a difference for brewers in improving the taste and aroma of a non-alcoholic alternative in their beer lineup.

16:00 - 17:00 : Coffee break - Panel discussion with speakers and exhibitors - Final word

17:00 - 18:00 : Guided tour in the brand new brewery

20h00 : final closure