Getting onboard with an alcohol free lifestyle is getting easier thanks to the increase of low or no alcohol beverages on the market these days. Nielsen CGA reports that the demand for these drinks will increase in 2020 and beyond. The younger generations are leading the change with a growing wellness mindset.
The reasons people drink and the reasons people quit drinking are as varied and unique as the consumers.
Entrepreneur Magazine reports 2020 is the year for non alcoholic beer.
Forbes reports 20% of Americans are considering sober months like Dry January and Sober October. There was a 26% increase in non-alcoholic beer volume nationwide over the Fourth of July holiday.
The market is growing for non-alcoholic drinks. Enthusiasts of alcohol free drinks enjoy the socializing benefits of being out at a bar or restaurant without the downsides of hangover.
Athletes are embracing the non alcoholic beer trend at the end of a work out for the anti-inflammatory properties of hops, and digestive benefits. Low and zero alcohol beer does not dehydrate you and may even increase your immune system by fighting off bacteria and disease.
NPR reported taking a break from booze has many benefits for everyone anywhere on a spectrum of those dappling in sober curiosity to those in long term recovery, and everyone in between.
Chris Marshall, was dependent on alcohol and found loneliness in recovery. This led him to creating Sans Bar, a sober bar located in Austin. Sans Bar is a place where people can get together for conversation, met up with sober friends, listen to music and, of course, sample non alcoholic drinks. Sans Bar continues to grow, opening in new locations across the country.
I find a substitute beverage is a perfect sober tool for living an alcohol free life. Embracing the non- alcoholic beverage trend has provided many of the social benefits alcohol used to give me, without the regretful side effects. Here’s a few ways non alcoholic beverages help.
Here’s the truth: the first 15 minutes to ½ hour of any gathering can feel awkward. Many people head to the bar to escape that uncomfortable feeling, especially when faced with a forced networking opportunity such as a work event. It’s not only the alcohol that provides relief from this discomfort, it’s the anticipation of getting a drink that provides relief. A non alcoholic drink provides that same relief for me, without any regrets, embarrassment, or adverse health effects. It gives me something to do, something to accomplish (getting a drink), something to do with my hands, and something to talk about (what are you drinking?).
2-No one likes a party pooper
I have found my alcohol free life is far more interesting than the life I lived when I was drinking. Yet, I can’t deny that there is a stigma that sober is boring. Having an adult looking beverage in my hand takes the spotlight away from my not drinking. Not having a party pooper label be the topic of conversation provides relief for me, especially when meeting new people. Others can judge if they are having a good time with me based on our connection and not by my drink of choice. Many assume I am drinking, because I am extroverted, love to laugh, and was voted class clown in high school. I don’t need a drink to have fun or even to be an outrageously good time. It’s nice to not have to announce my sobriety sometimes by having a drink option that doesn’t scream “why aren’t you drinking?”
3-I like the taste
As a recovery coach, people tell me they like the taste of beer, wine, or liquor. I like to refer them to Belle from Tired of Thinking About Drinking. Belle says you might like the taste of corn on the cob too but you don’t go around trying to moderate it. You aren’t concerned if you have it two nights in a row. You don’t leave your house at 10 pm to get more corn on the cob. Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol is a Class 1 carcinogen. It affects how the body and mind function. If you do like the taste of alcohol, but do not want the dangerous outcomes of alcohol, then you are in luck. I have tried many of craft brewed na beers and even a prosecco and I am impressed. I did a taste test with my drinking friends and no one can tell the difference between the alcoholic and non alcoholic brews. If you are like Huey Lewis and want a new drug, one that won’t make you sick, this the answer.
4- Drinking is fun
I agree. My vote is to treat yourself to some non alcoholic craft brews, whether you are going alcohol free for a specific event, a period of time, or forever. You can have fun experimenting with new drinks, anything from kombucha, hops tea, beer, wine or gin. A truly experienced mixologist loves the challenge of coming up with creative ways to incorporate flavors into non alcoholic mocktails as well. Not drinking alcohol is not a punishment. You are allowed to have fun, enjoy drinks, and socialize.
You don’t have to stick to tap water, juice pouches made for toddlers, or overly sweet drinks filled with sugar.
If you are in recovery and going to a liquor store is a trigger for you, no problem, you can to have it delivered to your door, with services such as NA Craft Beverages.
My top advice for anyone ditching the drink is to find an alternative beverage to kick those cravings to the curb!
Sparkling water with lime is always a good substitute, but if you ready to venture further there are many options to choose from.