GLOBAL drinks company Diageo is to introduce a new alcohol-free version of Guinness is to hit supermarket shelves in Scotland on Monday.

Guinness 0.0 goes on sale in 4-440ml can packs in certain off-licences and Waitrose and Morrison's online and in store from Monday, before being rolled out to other retailers. But pub-goers will have to wait until next spring to enjoy the new version of the popular Irish stout on draft, while it will be launched in other parts of the world later in 2021.

Diageo say it is Guinness "with everything, except alcohol".

Covid-related restrictions have increased consumers’ thirst for hangover-free options as drinking habits have become home-based.

Aisling Ryan, one of team’s lead brewers, said “hundreds and hundreds” of versions were tried until they finally landed on one they were happy with.

“It’s been a long time in the making,” she said.

“We’ve been working on this for over four years now, so it’s really exciting to get to this stage and finally get it outside the gates.”

HeraldScotland:

Using a process that has taken four years to develop, brewers at its St James’s Gate site in Dublin begin by making Guinness to the traditional 261-year old recipe – with water, barley, hops and yeast – before tweaking it to remove the alcohol through cold filtration.

A total of 2.5m pints of Guinness are produced every day at the Dublin brewery – equivalent to 29.5 pints of Guinness every second. Britain is its largest market, followed by Ireland and Nigeria The brand say 0.0 boasts the same "perfectly balanced flavour" as Guinness, with the same dark, ruby red liquid and creamy head, hints of chocolate and coffee, smoothly balanced with bitter, sweet and roasted notes.

The team at Guinness stated that in taste tests by an independent panel hosted by Nielsen, found that Guinness 0.0 ‘exceeded expectations’ with its taste lauded as ‘outstanding’.

Ms Ryan said finding a way to take out the alcohol in a “gentle way” without using heat was crucial in maintaining the Guinness taste.

“Removing alcohol can be quite harsh and a lot of non-alcohol beers out there compromise on flavour,” she said.

Guinness 0.0 is also described as a low-calorie option for those choosing to moderate, with just 16 calories per 100ml, meaning a standard can of alcohol-free Guinness 0.0 contains just 70 calories.

In 2019 Diageo bought the non-alcoholic spirit Seedlip, adding it to a drinks cupboard that includes Johnnie Walker whisky and Gordon’s gin. Its Guinness brand has also launched a 0.5% abv (alcohol by volume) lager called Pure Brew, which was trialled in 250 pubs across Ireland.

Major rivals such as Heineken and Carlsberg have also launched alcohol-free versions of their flagship beer labels. The Belgian brewer AB InBev launched a low-alcohol alternative to Stella Artois earlier this year, pledging that low and no-alcohol products would make up 20% of its drinks portfolio by 2025.