How Is Non Alcoholic Whiskey Made?

You’re about to embark on a fascinating journey into the world of non-alcoholic whiskey production. In this article, we will take you behind the scenes and explain the intricate process of how this unique beverage is made, all in a simple and easy-to-understand manner. Whether you are a whiskey aficionado or just curious about the creation of alcohol-free alternatives, join us as we unravel the secrets behind the production of non-alcoholic whiskey. Strap in and get ready to learn the ins and outs of this intriguing art form!

The Basics of Non Alcoholic Whiskey

Non alcoholic whiskey is a beverage designed to mimic the flavors and aromas of traditional whiskey, but without the alcohol content. It is a perfect alternative for those who want to enjoy the taste of whiskey without the effects of alcohol.

There are several reasons why someone might choose non alcoholic whiskey. Firstly, it allows individuals who don’t consume alcohol for personal or health reasons to still enjoy the taste and experience of whiskey. Non alcoholic whiskey provides an opportunity to be a part of social gatherings where whiskey is often enjoyed without feeling left out. Additionally, for those who are designated drivers or simply prefer not to consume alcohol, non alcoholic whiskey offers a satisfying alternative.

The key difference between non alcoholic whiskey and traditional whiskey lies in the alcohol content. While traditional whiskey typically has an alcohol by volume (ABV) ranging from 40% to 60%, non alcoholic whiskey has its alcohol content removed through various processes, resulting in an ABV of less than 0.5%. However, the goal of non alcoholic whiskey is to maintain the rich flavors, complexity, and depth that are characteristic of traditional whiskey.

The Process of Making Non Alcoholic Whiskey

Step 1: Selection of Ingredients

Just like traditional whiskey, non alcoholic whiskey starts with the careful selection of ingredients. These ingredients play a crucial role in defining the flavors and characteristics of the final product.

Step 2: Malting and Mashing

To begin the whiskey-making process, the chosen grains, most commonly barley, go through the malting process. This involves soaking the grains in water and allowing them to germinate. After germination, the grains are dried and crushed, creating malted barley. The malted barley is then mashed, mixed with hot water to convert starches into fermentable sugars.

Step 3: Fermentation

After the malting and mashing process, yeasts are added to the mash. The yeasts consume the sugars and convert them into alcohol and carbon dioxide through the process of fermentation. This is a crucial stage in the production of non alcoholic whiskey as it develops the flavors and aromas.

Step 4: Distillation

Distillation is where the magic happens in the whiskey-making process. There are various traditional and continuous distillation techniques employed by distilleries. Distillation separates alcohol from the fermented mash, resulting in a spirit with a higher alcohol content.

Step 5: Aging

Aging is a critical step in achieving the desired taste and character of non alcoholic whiskey. The spirit is placed in carefully selected aging vessels, typically oak barrels, for a specific duration under specific conditions. During this period, the whiskey undergoes chemical changes, absorbing flavors from the wood and developing more complex flavors and aromas.

Step 6: Removal of Alcohol

The removal of alcohol is what distinguishes non alcoholic whiskey from its traditional counterpart. There are several methods used to remove the alcohol content from the aged spirit. These include vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, heat and evaporation, and spinning cone column.

Step 7: Blending

The final step in the process is blending. Non alcoholic whiskey producers carefully select different whiskey components, which may include different batches, ages, or flavors, to create a balanced and robust flavor profile. The goal is to create a non alcoholic whiskey that captures the essence and complexity of traditional whiskey.

Step 1: Selection of Ingredients

Barley and Grains

Barley is the most commonly used grain in the production of non alcoholic whiskey. It provides the foundation for the flavors and mouthfeel of the final product. Other grains, such as corn, wheat, and rye, may also be used to add complexity and unique characteristics to the whiskey.


Water is a crucial ingredient in the whiskey-making process. The quality and composition of the water used can greatly impact the final flavor and character of the non alcoholic whiskey. Distilleries often source water from specific locations to ensure consistency and enhance the desired flavor profile.


Yeast is responsible for converting the sugars in the mash into alcohol through fermentation. Different strains of yeast can produce different flavors and aromas, contributing to the overall complexity of the non alcoholic whiskey.

Additional Flavors

In addition to the main ingredients, non alcoholic whiskey producers may incorporate additional flavors to enhance the taste and aroma. This can be achieved through the use of natural flavorings, such as spices, fruits, or herbs, to create a unique and enjoyable drinking experience.

Step 2: Malting and Mashing

Malting Process

The malting process begins by soaking the barley in water to initiate germination. This allows enzymes present in the barley to break down the starches into fermentable sugars. After a specific period, the germinated barley is dried using hot air, halting the germination process. The result is malted barley, which is then ready for mashing.

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Mashing Process

During the mashing process, the malted barley is mixed with hot water to extract the sugars. This mixture, called the mash, is held at a specific temperature to activate enzymes that convert the starches into fermentable sugars. The remaining solids, known as spent grains, are separated from the liquid, also known as the wort, which will undergo fermentation.

Also Check: Irish Whiskey Vs Scotch: A Clash Of Whiskey Traditions

Step 3: Fermentation

Adding Yeasts

Once the wort is separated from the spent grains, it is transferred to fermentation vessels. At this stage, specific strains of yeast are added to the wort. The yeast goes to work by consuming the sugars present in the wort and converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This fermentation process typically takes several days, allowing the flavors and aromas to develop.

Fermentation Process

During fermentation, the yeast consumes the sugars and produces alcohol as a byproduct. The vessels used for fermentation are carefully controlled to maintain optimal conditions, such as temperature and oxygen levels, to ensure a consistent and desirable fermentation process. This stage is crucial in determining the final flavors and aromas of the non alcoholic whiskey.

Step 4: Distillation

Traditional Distillation Techniques

Traditional distillation techniques involve heating the fermented mash in a still to separate the alcohol from the other components. As the mash heats up, the alcohol evaporates and rises through the still, where it is collected and condensed into liquid form. The resulting spirit is then distilled multiple times to remove impurities and enhance the desired flavors.

Continuous Distillation Techniques

Continuous distillation techniques, also known as column distillation, involve a continuous flow of the fermented mash through a series of interconnected columns. This allows for a higher degree of control over the distillation process, resulting in a consistent and refined spirit.

Importance of Cut Points

During distillation, the distiller carefully selects the cut points to separate the desired spirit from unwanted components. This process involves collecting the “heads” (initial distillate with unwanted compounds), the “hearts” (the desirable spirit), and the “tails” (the end distillate with unwanted compounds). The hearts, also known as the middle cut, form the basis of the non alcoholic whiskey.

Flavor Extraction

The distillation process plays a crucial role in flavor extraction. As the alcohol evaporates and rises, it carries with it various flavor compounds derived from the fermentation and aging processes. The choice of distillation technique and the careful management of cut points can greatly influence the final flavors and aromas of the non alcoholic whiskey.

How Is Non Alcoholic Whiskey Made?

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Step 5: Aging

Choice of Aging Vessels

Aging is a critical step in the production of non alcoholic whiskey as it allows the spirit to develop complex flavors and aromas. Oak barrels are the most commonly used aging vessels due to their ability to impart desirable flavors and characteristics. Distilleries may choose barrels that were previously used to age traditional whiskey, wine, or other spirits to introduce unique flavor profiles.

Duration and Conditions of Aging

The duration of aging can vary depending on the desired flavor profile and the regulatory requirements of the specific non alcoholic whiskey. During this period, the whiskey undergoes chemical reactions, allowing it to mellow and develop more complex flavors. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and airflow play a role in the aging process, influencing the interaction between the whiskey and the wood.

Wood Influence on Flavor

The interaction between the aging whiskey and the wood of the aging vessel is crucial in shaping the final flavors and aromas. The wood imparts flavors such as vanilla, caramel, and spices, while also softening any harsh flavors present in the spirit. The type of wood, its age, and the previous use of the barrel all contribute to the distinct characteristics of the non alcoholic whiskey.

Step 6: Removal of Alcohol

Methods of Alcohol Removal

The removal of alcohol is a crucial step in producing non alcoholic whiskey. There are several methods employed to achieve this, each with its own advantages and considerations. Some common methods include vacuum distillation, reverse osmosis, heat and evaporation, and spinning cone column. These methods differ in terms of efficiency, cost, and impact on flavor, allowing producers to choose the most suitable approach for their desired non alcoholic whiskey.

Vacuum Distillation

Vacuum distillation involves lowering the pressure in the distillation process. By reducing the boiling point of alcohol, it can be evaporated and collected at lower temperatures, minimizing the impact on flavors and aromas.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that separates alcohol from the whiskey by passing it through a semi-permeable membrane. This method allows for precise control over the alcohol content while preserving the desired flavors and characteristics.

Heat and Evaporation

Heat and evaporation involve applying gentle heat to the aged spirit, causing the alcohol to evaporate. As alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, it can be removed without significantly affecting the flavors and aromas.

Spinning Cone Column

The spinning cone column is a technology that uses centrifugal force to separate alcohol from the whiskey. The cones inside the column spin rapidly, causing the volatile alcohol compounds to separate from the non-alcoholic constituents.

Non Alcoholic Whiskey Made

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Step 7: Blending

Selection of Whiskey Components

Blending is an art form in the production of non alcoholic whiskey. Distillers carefully select different whiskey components, be it from different batches, ages, or flavors, to create a harmonious and well-balanced profile. Each component brings its unique characteristics, and the blending process allows for the creation of a non alcoholic whiskey with depth and complexity.

Balancing Flavors and Characteristics

The goal of blending is to strike a balance between various flavors and characteristics. Each component contributes different elements to the final blend, such as sweetness, smokiness, or spiciness. Through meticulous tasting and experimentation, distillers aim to create a nonalcoholic whiskey that captures the essence of traditional whiskey while providing a satisfying and enjoyable drinking experience.


Nonalcoholic whiskey offers a wonderful alternative for those who want to enjoy the flavors and experience of whiskey without the alcohol content. Through a meticulous process involving ingredient selection, malting and mashing, fermentation, distillation, aging, alcohol removal, and blending, nonalcoholic whiskey is created to maintain the rich flavors, complexity, and depth of traditional whiskey.

By understanding the process behind nonalcoholic whiskey, enthusiasts can appreciate the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into creating this unique beverage. So, whether you choose nonalcoholic whiskey for health reasons, personal preference, or as a designated driver, you can savor the rich flavors and aromas of whiskey while staying true to your individual needs. Cheers!