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Is St. Louis the next non-alcoholic beer scene?

Schlafly Beer is teaming up with Wellbeing Brewery to make more non-alcoholic brews.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis is already a beer town, but is it a non-alcoholic beer town? Maybe...and St. Louis brewer Schlafly is hedging their bets on it.

Announced Thursday morning, Schlafly Beer is combining forces with Wellbeing Brewery. Wellbeing hasn't been around long, only since 2018. The St. Louis-based business is teaming up with Schlafly to scale its non-alcoholic brews.

Let's address the elephant in the article: "Why would you take the alcohol out of beer?"

CEO of Schlafly Beer, Fran Caradonna, has a straightforward answer.

"Because people love the flavor, they don't just drink for alcohol," Caradonna said.

Fair enough. And with many years in the beer business, Caradonna learned to listen to the beer drinker.

"Consumers tell us they like non-alcoholic beer...and we listen to consumers and follow them," Caradonna said. "That's how we've lasted 30 years and how we continue to innovate."

Schlafly brewers know their way around traditional beer, but they wanted to bring in an expert to brew non-alcoholic beers.

"This category has gotten pretty competitive," co-founder of WellBeing Brewery Jeff Stevens explained, "I think we were one of the first players in it, but there's lots of demand for it."

The demand pushed Stevens and Wellbeing Brewery to the top of their game, and then they needed help too.

"This has been a mom-and-pop operation for five years. We've gotten it as big as we can get it and now we need to bring in the pros," said Stevens.

And that's how it happened, the pros of non-alcoholic beer and traditional beer found each other in St. Louis. 

"It's a partnership between two organizations where we do what we do well and they do what they do well and the outcome is bigger than both of us," Caradonna said.

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