Two NSW Riverina women have joined forces to launch a brand of non-alcoholic beer, which will be hitting shelves Australia-wide next week.
Nort beer came about through the combined efforts of Rankins Springs' Jaz Wearin and Coleambally expat Sally Muntz, who have been working "bloody hard" to bring their beer to life.
Mrs Wearin, who co-founded Modus Operandi Brewing, said she first became interested in non-alcoholic space after becoming pregnant and wanting a way to quench her sudden craving for beer.
Her interest intensified during lockdown, when she and many of her friends found themselves spending more time sitting at home and resisting the temptation to drink to excess.
"The year of COVID has been an interesting one. We all did it, we knocked off at 4 or 5 and thought about having an extra two glasses of wine or two beers, but everything in moderation," Mrs Wearin said.
"Yes you can have that glass of beer or wine, but maybe you should balance that with a non-alcoholic beer that actually tastes like beer."
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She discovered that non-alcoholic beer was the one fastest growing markets in the drinks scene, especially amongst a younger generation of workers who are more mindful of their health and wellbeing.
Ms Muntz helped on the marketing side of business, coming up with the brand and a design that would appeal to the younger demographic.
She first got into the alcohol scene at De Bortoli in Griffith, where she ran marketing and events for their various wines.
Ms Muntz said those events and festivals had become impossible in the era of COVID, but is looking forward to the day when life returns to normal so she can show off Nort to the rest of Australia.
"It's a weird time. Traditionally we would run these events, but because of COVID we have to work on other ways to get people excited about the new product. Hopefully we can do a bit in the new year, depending on how things go with COVID," she said.
"It's been a super fun project to get involved with with Jaz, so I'm pretty stoked about getting ready to launch it."