May 2, 2023 - Things to Do

A zero-proof pop-up brewery is coming to Portland this summer

Is zero-proof beer the next big thing? Photo: Courtesy of Heck

A new nonalcoholic pop-up brewery is debuting in Portland this summer.

Details: The folks that brought us the buzzy mocktail pop-up bar Suckerpunch are now launching Heck, with plans to be in bars, restaurants and grocery stores soon.

  • Portland is home to dozens of booze-free beverage businesses, so competition is stiff. But market saturation doesn't seem to bug Andy McMillan, the owner of Suckerpunch and Heck.

What they're saying: "The sober-curious movement is very compatible with people here," he told Axios. "The zero-proof movement is taking off around the world, but the specific condition we're excited about in Portland is the combination of people being much more mindful of wellness and experimentation."

The latest: McMillan and brewer Justin Miller have two beers ready for tasting: an IPA and a lager, both made with Washington-grown Citra and Cascade hops.

  • Heck will host events in bars and restaurants starting next month, and hopefully have cases available in grocery stores by the end of the summer.

Of note: Right now, Athletic Brewing, the Connecticut-based nonalcoholic brewery, owns roughly 60% of the market and is on beer lists nearly everywhere. Heck hopes to compete by offering consumers lighter brews with bolder flavors.

  • "We think we're bringing something unique that we can say we prefer to anything else on the market," McMillan said. "And we'll see if anyone else agrees with us."

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