Guinness has launched a new alcohol free version of its famed stout after a four-year endeavour to replicate the taste of the original black stuff.

The Irish brewer says Guinness 0.0 is a response to a growing consumer appetite for non-alcohol, lower-calorie beverages. The product was developed by an innovation team based at Guinness’s brewery at St James’s Gate in Dublin.

Aisling Ryan, one of team’s lead brewers, said “hundreds and hundreds” of versions were tried until they finally landed on one they were happy with. “It’s been a long time in the making,” she said. “We’ve been working on this for over four years now, so it’s really exciting to get to this stage and finally get it out.”

It will initially be rolled out in off-sales in Ireland and the UK, with draught Guinness 0.0 due to be available in pubs from the new year. A global launch of the product is pencilled in for next summer.