News / Toronto

New craft business promotes non-alcoholic beer and spirits

People who avoid alcohol can join in on Toronto's craft beer boom, thanks to an engineering grad.

Premium Near Beer founder Ted Fleming is set to launch a Kickstarter for his non-alcoholic beer production brand, Partake Brewing.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

Premium Near Beer founder Ted Fleming is set to launch a Kickstarter for his non-alcoholic beer production brand, Partake Brewing.

Sober Torontonians can still enjoy craft beer thanks to a new local business.

When Ted Fleming was diagnosed with Crohns disease in 2005, doctors told him he should no longer drink, and he wanted to find a solution.

“The problem was, I just enjoyed my beer and its taste,” said Fleming, an engineering graduate from Queen’s University.

“But more than anything, I enjoyed the camaraderie it brought around friends and family. A lot of people take that for granted until it’s taken away.”

To fill that void he decided to launch Premium Near Beer, a company he believes is the first in North American alcohol-free craft beer. His store – which also serves as an online marketplace – carries over 20 types of beer in addition to non-alcoholic wine, ciders, rum and spirits, most of which are imported from Europe.

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By next month, he’s hoping to launch his own production under the Partake Brewing brand. He sees his venture as an important addition to the city’s growing craft beer scene.

“Pretty much every bar in Europe serves non-alcoholic beer, not just in bottle but also available on draught,” he said, noting Toronto’s next logical step is to catch up.

Most of his clients are older individuals whose medical conditions forced them into dieting, but other customers include religious abstainees and pregnant women.

“It’s becoming a trend,” he said. “These are people who want to socialize and be able to drive home, go to their business meetings and continue to be productive after lunch.”

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