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Keith Villa, a career brewmaster trained in Brussels then at the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado, knows how important it is to keep NA beer safe for customers. He and other NA brewers discuss pasteurization in this article from Good Beer Hunting:
Pasteurization is considered the most effective method for eliminating unwanted microbes in beverages and is widely used across many drink categories, including beer. At the most basic level, pasteurization briefly heats liquid to a temperature high enough to kill yeast and bacteria, ensuring longer shelf life and consistent taste. Milk, orange juice, and many beers sold in grocery stores are all pasteurized for this reason.
Some leading NA beer producers, including Athletic Brewing Company and Ceria Brewing Company, say pasteurization is the only reliable method to ensure a totally shelf-stable, non-alcoholic beer. In particular, they tout tunnel pasteurization, which pasteurizes the liquid and its packaging. It’s the most effective solution, but a tunnel pasteurizer is also expensive, at a cost of close to $1 million. Many non-alcoholic beer producers rely on contract packagers (called co-packers) rather than packaging their own liquid; those co-packers may or may not employ tunnel pasteurization. But at an NA-focused panel at the Craft Brewers Conference in May, Ceria Brewing’s co-founder Keith Villa called tunnel pasteurization “a moral obligation” for NA beer producers. (Villa is also the retired founder of Molson Coors’ Blue Moon Brewing Company.)