- Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
- Kris Nelson and a six-pack of Rescue Club at Zero Gravity's to-go window
The first beverage in the new line, called Rescue Club Brewing Company, is an IPA that was released on January 2. Available by the six-pack at the Pine Street brewery, the non-alcoholic brew will be distributed statewide starting January 18, according to Kris Nelson, Rescue Club’s cofounder and director of sales.
“Rescue Club has its own goals and concept and trajectory,” Nelson said. “Our whole focus is non-alcoholic beer. Zero Gravity is going to have a family of non-alcoholic beers under the name Rescue Club.” This could encompass a variety of flavors and styles, he explained.
Nelson is a cofounder and co-owner of Citizen Cider who left his job at that company in the fall of 2019 to help develop the new product at Zero Gravity. He and others at Zero Gravity think Rescue Club is the first non-alcoholic beer made in Vermont, Nelson said.
“It’s being able to see a trend ahead,” he said. “I think that there was an awareness in where the market’s going and what the brewery could do.”
Rescue Club produces its non-alcoholic beer with the same equipment Zero Gravity uses to brew beers such as Conehead and Green State Lager. After the alcohol is extracted from Rescue Club's IPA, the beverage is dry-hopped again and then pasteurized, according to Nelson. Pasteurization takes place at Vermont Cider Company in Middlebury; the process occurs after Rescue Club is in cans, Nelson explained.
At the IPA’s January 2 release at the brewery, several people told Nelson they couldn’t tell the drink was alcohol-free, he said.
“I was hanging out talking to people, everybody with masks on, and there I was drinking these non-alcoholic beers the whole time,” Nelson said. “And that felt really good. People need to be able to have another option, an alternative. I like it even more than I thought I would.”
Zero Gravity started as a brewpub in the basement of American Flatbread in downtown Burlington. It opened its Pine Street brewery in 2015 and last summer expanded to Magic Hat's former brewery in South Burlington.