German Olympians are drinking non-alcoholic beer like it's Gatorade

Germany’s Olympians don’t reach for sports drinks after an especially grueling workout — or at least not any sports drink Americans are familiar with.

According to Johannes Scherr, the doctor for Germany’s Olympic ski team, just about all of the athletes under his care drink non-alcoholic beer during training, The New York Times reports.

Scherr’s claims are only bolstered by the fact that the German brewery Krombacher has sent a whopping 3,500 liters of non-alcoholic beer (just under 925 gallons) to Pyeongchang’s Olympic Village, to be enjoyed by the 153 members of Team Germany.

simon schempp reuters

“It’s a really good drink directly after training or after competition,” German biathlete Simon Schempp told the New York Times.  (Reuters)

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“It’s a really good drink directly after training or after competition,” German biathlete Simon Schempp told the Times.

Though it may seem odd to Americans, who mostly think of non-alcoholic beer as something only an ex-beer-drinker would imbibe, drinking non-alcoholic beer after a strenuous workout isn’t unheard-of in Germany. German gyms often stock non-alcoholic beer for members post-workout, and some brewers even market their non-alcoholic offerings as if they were Gatorade or Powerade.

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Scherr doesn’t explicitly tell his athletes to consumer non-alcoholic beer after a training session, but he tells the Times there are scientific studies to back up the practice. In 2009, Scherr himself conducted a study in which he supplied runners with either a non-alcoholic beer or a placebo each day leading up to, and after, the 2009 Munich Marathon, and the beer-drinking group reported lower instances of inflammation and repertory infections.

beer after marathon reuters

Medalists at the Berlin Marathon, like Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, seen here in 2012, are often given non-alcoholic beer upon completion of the event.  (Reuters)

A Chilean study conducted in 2016 further found that soccer players stayed more hydrated when they consumed non-alcoholic beer — as opposed to water or a sports drink — before training.

“It tastes good, and it’s good for the body,” Alpine skier Linus Strasser told the Times, adding, “It’s isotonic. That’s why it’s good for us sports guys.”

krombacher istock

German brewery Krombacher sent along 3,500 liters of non-alcoholic beer to the Olympic Village in Pyeongchang.  (iStock)

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Those sports guys, however, don’t necessarily look at non-alcoholic beer as a replacement for the real stuff, and Krombacher agrees. Along with the 3,500 liters of near-beer, the brewery sent along a bit of their original beer as well — 11,000 liters, to be exact.