Rugby still has a perception problem. There is an – admittedly diminishing – section of society that has a very fixed view of a typical rugby player. Born from behaviours and cultures in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the view is of a big, fat bully who fights on the pitch and replicates this off the pitch but with the addition of copious amounts of beer. Rugby clubs are still sometimes seen as hovels of institutionalised rituals and stunt drinking.
There are elements of this culture that still pervade our sport these days but let’s not pretend things haven’t moved on significantly. My experience over the past decade or so is that players are a lot more healthy, responsible and prioritise other commitments (such as work, family, etc) over full-on immersion in that culture. For example, most players drive to and from matches and therefore do not drink afterwards. Many also have work or family commitments that mean a sharp exit after getting changed and showered. Rugby clubhouses are also far more family and community-based places that serve other purposes than just venues for Saturday skite sessions.
Most players are also in the gym or exercising outwith rugby training and playing too. There’s a body consciousness now (in society as well as rugby) that prohibits regular over-consumption of beer. With that in mind, a new gap has opened in the beer market for lower alcohol and low-calorie beverages.
As with non-alcoholic beer the real challenge is in making it taste good.
Given the plethora of tasty craft beers on the market, this is an even harder task for those looking to capitalise on this emerging market sector.
Gen!us Brewing have made a purposeful stride into this market with their debut offering Gen!us Craft Lager. Weighing in at a mere 72 calories per can (330ml) this is a very light offering when you compare it to a pint of lager (Carlsberg – 180 calories) or Guinness (210 calories). It is also only 3% ABV which makes each can exactly 1 UK unit of alcohol, helping to keep track of recovery time for driving the next morning and also for not turning you into a gibbering, honesty machine on team nights out.
But how does it taste? The crucial question.
Well… it’s not bad.
In fact, it’s pretty refreshing. The marketing states it is “crafted from the finest pilsner malts and Styrian Golding hops, Gen!us is matured with Australian Galaxy and Ella hops for a subtle citrus aroma.” And whilst you can subtly taste the citrus and it has the sharpness of a Pilsner it lacks the body and fullness of a German lager. For beer geeks it is closer to a Helles lager in composition and taste than anything. Light, refreshing and imminently drinkable it is a positive development for beer drinkers looking for a low calorie, lower alcohol option.
The Gen!us Team are also rugby people who are making their presence felt in Scottish Rugby circles. Most notably they have thrown their weight behind the My Name’5 Doddie campaign and commendably are donating 5p from every can of Gen!us sold to help the fight against Motor Neurone Disease. They are also working closely with our friends over at SCRUM Magazine and have pledged support as “Official Beer Partner” to the Rex Club Red Kites Sevens team.
Currently, distribution of the lager is still growing but it can already be bought in Indigo Yard, branches of Margiottas and online at Flavourly.com – check the Gen!us website for new outlets.
So a tasty, refreshing, low calorie, lower alcohol craft beer that specifically supports Scottish Club rugby and causes close to our hearts. What more could you want?