Drinking plays a big role in Japanese culture. Practically every “salaryman” in all companies big or small will go out drinking together with coworkers at least once a week, and it’s an unspoken rule that you must attend. And these drinking sessions aren’t simply a drink-till-you-get-shit-faced affair. It is totally considered a team-building activity complete with etiquette that must be followed “or you won’t get promoted”, says some Japanese people I know.
With so much drinking going on, it’s not hard to see that a lot of people have alcohol-related health problems, and through the years a variety of “healthy” beers have started popping up in the market. The picture above is one of them. It’s Sapporo Beer’s revamped GOKU ZERO beer (Goku means “extreme”). It proudly declares itself as the “World’s first” beer (as of June 2015) that has zero carbs, zero purine, and zero artificial sweeteners. The red label on the top left says “World’s first”.
(Actually, to be more accurate, this technically isn’t really beer. It’s what is called Happoushu, which is a low-malt beer developed to avoid being taxed as a beer.)
Like many other beer-like liquors in Japan, the older version of Goku Zero had no carbs and purine, but this new version of the Zero line apparently is the first without artificial sweeteners as well. The product’s website says that they decided to remove sweeteners after market research in which 97% of all female respondents said that they wanted a beer without it.
I tried it the other day, and while I’m no beer critic and can’t make a qualified judgment on the quality of this “beer”, I can say that I don’t find it disagreeable. It is not sophisticated in any way, but it is smooth and light. Deceptively light, by the way. The alcohol (4.5%) in this thing creeps up on you. I drank this one quickly as it didn’t feel like it was going to hit me much. But as soon as I got up moments later to take a leak, it gave me a nice little german suplex.
So, who is this for exactly? Basically it’s for women and anyone who wants to get plastered but at the same time stay in shape. If that sounds like you (and you’re not finicky about your alcohol), then you might want to consider trying this.