Media Reports Regarding Beer's Sugar Content

Posted: 01 April 2014

Blog category: Beer

Following media coverage of a new study regarding the amount of sugar in beer, British Beer and Pub Association policy manager Steve Livens explains why, in truth, a pint of beer typically contains less than a teaspoon of sugar:
 
"While the total carbohydrate content might be higher, this is only because the finished beer contains other sources of carbohydrates, such as soluble fibre, many of which have been individually associated with positive health benefits.
 
"Most beer will have very little, if any, sugar added during the brewing process, and sugars added will almost entirely be converted into alcohol.
 
"As this study largely focuses on sugar being a proxy for calories, it is worth remembering that beer is low in calories. A typical half a pint of bitter contains just 90 calories; that's fewer than in the same amount of orange juice, or milk. The average sugar content for ale with a characteristic alcohol strength of 4%-5% ABV is around 2.5g per 500ml.”
 
Shepherd Neame senior brewer, Stewart Tricker adds: “It is disappointing to note the calculation regarding Spitfire Ale in the study is incorrect: total sugar in Spitfire Ale is 0.5g per 100mls, meaning 2.5g (half a teaspoon) of sugar is present in a 500ml bottle – half the 5g incorrectly stated in the study.
 
"Moreover, beer typically contains a variety of vitamins and minerals. Enjoyed in moderation by those without underlying health conditions, beer can certainly be part of a healthy lifestyle."