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The Process Of Dealcoholization - Reduction In Alcohol Content

Dealcoholization aims to remove or reduce the alcohol content from beverages. It is used to produce non-alcoholic or low-alcohol alternatives to alcoholic beverages. Note that the process of dealcoholization may affect the flavor, aroma, and overall quality of the original beverage.

Dr. Bill Butcher
May 25, 202367 Shares1603 Views
Does it spark any interest on your part to know about the process of dealcoholization?
If it does, then welcome to the fascinating world of the dealcoholization process!
In today's fast-paced and ever-evolving society, where individuals are becoming increasingly health-conscious and mindful of their consumption choices, dealcoholization has emerged as a remarkable solution.
This intricate process serves as a gateway to enjoy the delightful flavors, aromas, and experiences associated with alcoholic beverages, while minimizing or entirely eliminating the alcohol content.
Whether it’s to cater to specific dietary needs, adhere to cultural or religious practices, or simply partake in the vibrant social atmosphere without the effects of alcohol, the dealcoholization process offers a captivating blend of science, innovation, and culinary artistry.
So, let’s embark on a captivating journey to uncover the secrets behind this transformative process!
Discover how the process of dealcoholization opens a world of possibilities for everyone, regardless of their personal preferences or reasons for seeking a delightful alcohol-free experience.

Clariant dealcoholization process

Meaning Of Dealcoholization

Dealcoholization refers to the process of removing or reducing the alcohol content in a beverage, typically an alcoholic drink.
The process of dealcoholization is carried out to create non-alcoholic or low-alcohol versions of the original beverage.
There are various methods used for dealcoholization, and the choice of method depends on the desired alcohol reduction and the type of beverage.
Some common techniques in the process of dealcoholization include:
1. Distillation
This method involves heating the beverage to vaporize the alcohol and then collecting and condensing the alcohol vapors.
The condensed alcohol is then separated from the remaining liquid, resulting in a reduced-alcohol or non-alcoholic product.
2. Reverse osmosis
This process utilizes a semipermeable membrane to separate the alcohol from the beverage.
The beverage is pressurized and passed through the membrane, allowing water, flavors, and other compounds to pass through while retaining the alcohol on one side.
3. Vacuum distillation
In this method, the beverage is placed under a vacuum, which lowers its boiling point.
The liquid is then heated at a lower temperature, allowing the alcohol to evaporate and be collected separately.
4. Fermentation arrest
For beverages in the early stages of fermentation, the process can be halted before the yeast converts all the sugars into alcohol.
This method pertaining to the process of dealcoholization is commonly used in the production of low-alcohol beers.
By employing these techniques, the alcohol content of a beverage can be significantly reduced or removed altogether, making it suitable for individuals who prefer or require non-alcoholic options.
A dealcoholized wine being poured from a bottle into a standard red wine glass
A dealcoholized wine being poured from a bottle into a standard red wine glass

What Is The Main Aim Of Dealcoholization?

The primary objective of dealcoholization is to retain the original flavor, aroma, and characteristics of the drink while significantly lowering or eliminating the alcohol content.
Dealcoholization processes are employed to produce non-alcoholic or low-alcohol alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages.
There are several reasons why the process of dealcoholization is conducted:
a. Health considerations
Some individuals may choose to consume non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages due to health concernsor personal preferences.
These beverages provide an option for people who wish to avoid the potential negative effects of alcohol consumption, such as:
  • addiction
  • liver damage
  • impaired judgment
  • other health issues
b. Legal and regulatory requirements
In some regions, there are legal restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages, particularly in certain settings or age groups.
Producing non-alcoholic versions allows beverage manufacturers to comply with these regulations and provide options for those who cannot or choose not to consume alcohol.
c. Meeting market demands
There is a growing market demand for non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages.
This demand is driven by various factors, including:
  • shifting consumer preferences
  • health consciousness
  • increased interest in wellness and mindful drinking
  • the desire for alternative beverage options
d. Catering to specific populations
Non-alcoholic or low-alcohol beverages can be suitable for certain groups such as:
  • pregnant women
  • individuals with alcohol-related sensitivities or allergies
  • designated drivers
  • those who simply prefer not to consume alcohol
Different methods are employed in the process of dealcoholization, including distillation, reverse osmosis, vacuum distillation, and various combinations of physical and chemical processes.
These techniques aim to remove or reduce the alcohol content while preserving the flavor and other desirable characteristics of the beverage.
A standard wine glass with alcohol-free wine, with a blurred background
A standard wine glass with alcohol-free wine, with a blurred background

Dealcoholization Process

Earlier, we already explained briefly some of the techniques in the process of dealcoholization, namely:
  • distillation
  • fermentation arrest
  • reverse osmosis
  • vacuum distillation
The specific steps involved in the dealcoholization process can vary depending on the method used.
Here are three more common steps and their explanations.

Spinning Cone Column

The spinning cone column (SCC) is a specialized device that utilizes centrifugal force to separate alcohol from the beverage.
The column consists of a series of spinning cones stacked on top of each other. As the beverage flows down the column, the cones rotate, creating a thin film on the cone surfaces.
This increases the surface area and promotes the evaporation of alcohol, which is then condensed and collected.
Here’s how the spinning cone column works in the process of dealcoholization:
a. Vacuum conditions
The SCC operates under reduced pressure or vacuum conditions.
By lowering the pressure, the boiling point of the liquid decreases, allowing for the evaporation of alcohol and other volatile compounds at lower temperatures, which helps to preserve the sensory characteristics of the beverage.
b. Conical elements
The SCC consists of multiple conical elements arranged in a stack.
These conical elements are mounted on a rotating shaft and angled in a way that creates a centrifugal force as the liquid passes through them.
This force helps in achieving separation and enhancing the efficiency of the process.
c. Evaporation and condensation
The liquid to be dealcoholized enters the SCC at the top and flows downward.
As the liquid flows through the conical elements during the process of dealcoholization, the rotating motion creates a thin film on the surface of the cones.
This film increases the liquid's surface area, promoting the evaporation of volatile compounds, including alcohol.
d. Separation of compounds
Due to the vacuum conditions and centrifugal force, the volatile compounds, including alcohol, evaporate and rise toward the top of the column.
The vapor then undergoes condensation on the cool surface of the cones, where it liquefies and is collected separately.
e. Collection of dealcoholized beverages
The liquid that remains after the separation process is the dealcoholized beverage.
It is collected at the bottom of the SCC and can be further processed to adjust its alcohol content if needed.


After the process of dealcoholization, the alcohol-free or low-alcohol product may undergo blending.
This step involves adjusting the flavor, aroma, and other sensory attributes to ensure the final product matches the original beverage or meets the desired specifications.
This can involve adding natural or artificial flavors, adjusting sweetness, or balancing other components.

Heat Treatment

Heat treatment involves subjecting the beverage to elevated temperatures for a specific period.
Heat can cause the alcohol to evaporate, which is then removed from the system.
The process is carefully controlled to prevent the degradation of flavor and other desirable components in the beverage.
It’s important to note that the process of dealcoholization can vary depending on the specific requirements, desired alcohol content, and legal regulations governing the production of non-alcoholic beverages.
Two arms of women shown clinking wine glasses with non-alcoholic wine in an outdoor gathering
Two arms of women shown clinking wine glasses with non-alcoholic wine in an outdoor gathering

People Also Ask

What Does Dealcoholized Wine Taste Like?

Dealcoholized wine, also known as non-alcoholic wine or alcohol-free wine, is a type of wine that has had most or all of its alcohol content removed.
The taste of dealcoholized wine can vary depending on the specific brand and production method, but there are some general characteristics.
Typically, dealcoholized wine retains many of the flavors and aromas found in regular wine, such as fruity, floral, and earthy notes.
However, the absence of alcohol can affect the overall taste and mouthfeel.

What’s The Point Of Non-Alcoholic Wine?

In 2012, ScienceDaily reportedthat, according to the American Heart Association, a study shows how non-alcoholic wine (dealcoholized wine) can lower the risk of having a:
  • stroke (as high as 20 percent)
  • heart disease (as high as 14 percent)
In addition, there’s a potential for non-alcoholic wine to also reduce the risk of getting cancer.

What Does Dealcoholized Beer Mean?

Dealcoholized beerrefers to a type of beer that has had its alcohol content significantly reduced or removed through various processes.
It is also known as:
  • non-alcoholic beer
  • low-alcohol beer
While the specific methods may vary, the goal is to create a beverage that resembles the taste, aroma, and appearance of regular beer but contains very little or no alcohol.
Note, however, that dealcoholized beer still contains a small amount of alcohol, typically less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
This residual alcohol content is a result of the limitations of the dealcoholization process and is generally considered negligible.

Final Thoughts

The process of dealcoholization aims to remove or reduce the alcohol content in beverages.
As mentioned earlier, dealcoholized beverages often aim to mimic the taste and sensory experience of their alcoholic counterparts while offering a safer alternative for those who wish to avoid alcohol for health, personal, or cultural reasons.
Overall, in the process of dealcoholization, different manufacturers may employ different techniques or combinations of methods to achieve the desired results.
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