Ahead of the Beer strategies Roundtable Forum on 30th June, we caught up with Maria-Elisabeth Laimer, cofounder of Freedl. Here’s what we found out.

Maria-Elisabeth Laimer wants to make one thing clear. Freedl is not your choice B option. “Alcohol free used to be a second choice, as if you’re making a sacrifice. This one, the first non-alcoholic craft beer in Italy, makes more possible; in taste, in opportunity, and in its sheer lack of limits.”

Maria-Elisabeth and her brother came up with the idea in 2015, and cofounded Freedl in 2019. From an entrepreneurial family, they kept bouncing ideas off each other and, as Maria-Elisabeth puts it, stayed ‘curious and active’ with their goal: to create a flavourful, alcohol free beer.

“We wanted to change the quality of the product and the dialogue around it: that it’s about freedom of choice, that I’m drinking it because I love it, because it tastes good and because I feel like it.” Laimer pointed out that there are plenty of good alcoholic beer options and they wanted the same range of options for alcohol free beer.

“We understand that the mindful drinking category is in an early stage. For us, the key is always optimising alongside our consumers. With this, we aim to build this new category together with other industry leaders and with the people who love these drinks.”

And many do. Freedl is now available at retailers, shops and restaurants in Italy and Germany and their success is growing.

Freedl was also the first on the Italian market. It’s crafted, regional, and alcohol free by European standards (0.05% alc). Freedl is brewed with fresh water from the Alps, South Tyrolean malt and different hop varieties that create an ambiance of exotic fruits and a fresh, pleasant bitterness.

Meanwhile, Maria-Elisabeth Laimer has also started to work with the investment unit of Mast-Jägermeister SE, focussing on new opportunities in the nightlife and nolo spirits sector.

When asked what she loves about her role at Freedl, Maria-Elisabeth says its shaping a brand that can excite people and creating a product that shifts consumer perception of alcohol free beer. Additionally, said Laimer, “In the beer industry, there are a lot of people who really enjoy what they do, and plenty of opportunity from home microbreweries to global operations. The whole category is gaining a lot of traction and I love it.”

Maria-Elisabeth Laimer will be part of a panel at the Beer Strategies Roundtable Forum on 30th June 2021 together with world leading brewers across the globe to identify key drivers of growth, leverage innovation and retain customer engagement in the beer industry. Interested in attending? There are still a few remaining places and you can register here.