Low-cal beer creator Joseph Owades dies

Dec. 22, 2005 at 12:16 PM

SONOMA, Calif., Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Joseph L. Owades, known as the creator of low-calorie beer, died at his home in Sonoma, Calif., at age 86, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Owades, who also helped launch a number of microbreweries making custom beers, had suffered a stroke several years ago but the cause of death was heart failure, his wife, Ruth, told the newspaper.

Owades, who held a doctorate in biochemistry, "revolutionized the American beer business," said Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co. Koch had hired Owades as a consultant in the 1980s when Koch started brewing Samuel Adams lager.

Owades developed his first formulas for beers in the 1950s when he worked for Rheingold Breweries in Brooklyn, N.Y. He created a so-called diet beer by isolating an enzyme that could break down starches, allowing the yeast in beer to digest the starch and therefore lower the number of calories, The Times report said.

In his career, Owades presented more than 40 research papers on beer, advancing techniques of brewing.

Owades is survived by his second wife, two sons and a brother.

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