Alcohol Bases 101: Sugar-Brews

Sugar-Brews Fermented Cold-Brewed Sugar

A lot of alcoholic beverages are coming on to the market using “cold-brewed sugar” or “fermented cane sugar” as their alcohol base. But what does that mean exactly?

Commonly referred to in the industry as “sugar-brews,” this type of a base is produced by fermenting sugar from cane, beet, or corn. Sugar-brew is frequently compared to “malt base,” which is fermented barley or grain that has been steeped, germinated, and dried. Malt base production is a complex process which uses proprietary techniques and machinery. This is one reason why brand owners are turning to sugar-brews for their ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages.  

Here are 5 additional advantages sugar-brews offer:

1. Naturally Gluten Free 
Sugar-brews are produced without grains, except for corn which is gluten free. This allows brand owners to label their product as “Naturally Gluten Free.”

2. Low Calorie
Dextrose (corn sugar) and fructose (fruit sugar) are 100% fermentable by yeast, meaning the only calories left over are those from alcohol. Malt sugars, on the other hand, are only partially fermentable by yeast. These non-fermentable sugars are left over after fermentation and contribute additional calories.

3. Colorless 
Sugar, unlike malt which inherently has some color, is colorless. This makes sugar-brews the perfect canvas for formulation.

4. Flavor Neutral low calorie gluten-free alcohol
Sugar base tends to be more neutral in flavor when compared to malt base due to flavor contributions from the boiling process necessary to produce malt base.

5. Cost Effective 
Sugar-brews cost about the same as malt base, which is the least expensive of traditional alcohol bases. When it comes to federal taxes, it is also classified as beer, the same as malt base. However, it should be noted that the classification of sugar-brews varies from state to state.

The benefits that come with sugar-brews have spurred a trend in the ready-to-drink alcohol market.

To learn more about malt base and other ready-to-drink alcohol sources, check out Alcohol Bases 101.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended to convey general information regarding beverage laws, taxes and compliance and it does not constitute legal advice. This is for informational purposes only, and we strongly encourage you to seek independent legal counsel for advice on specific legal issues.