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Curious About Sober Curious?

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

If you’ve ever sworn off booze after a night of drinking, you’re obviously not alone. But what may be a little surprising is that many people are now sticking to that resolution. Often referred to as sober curious, the number of US adults choosing to explore life without alcohol is growing and brands should take note.

This moderation movement has had an impact on the beverage business. Non-alcoholic beer sales grew 3.9% last year while boozy beer sales grew just 0.2%. Brands are working to meet the demand for booze-free beverages. O’Doul’s cans got a hot new look and Heineken introduced Heineken 0.0. Molson Coors acquired a kombucha brand and, in addition to O’Doul’s, Anheuser-Busch has invested in the non-alcoholic beverage sector. Even traditionally non-alcoholic beverage brands are hoping to capitalize on this growing trend as Coca-Cola introduces non-alcoholic, cocktail-inspired drinks. If you’re interested in trying some of the more talked about brands in the non-alcoholic spirits space, check these out:

  • Seedlip - A UK-based company that offers three different flavors and a wide range of cocktail recipes. Interestingly, it calls itself a, “Nature Company on a mission to change the way the world drinks with the highest quality non-alcoholic options.”

  • Curios Elixirs - Based in the Hudson River Valley, this brand offers four different booze-less beverage options with a focus on natural ingredients.

  • Ceder’s - Known as a non-alcoholic gin, or as it’s referred to on the brand’s site, “alt-gin,” this drink is made with classic gin and exotic South African botanicals. 

There are many more of these brands to explore, and likely more being introduced in the future. Check out a Google search near you for a deeper dive. 

For Gen Zers and millennials who are more likely to favor marijuana over booze, cannabis drinks have become another growing alternative to alcoholic beverages. Annheuser Busch is investing in this area and VCs will be flocking to this year’s Cannabis Drinks Expo in San Francisco.

  • Happy Apple - Tarukino produces a variety of cannabis-infused products, among them is Happy Apple, which touts the purest cannabis and what sound like some of the world’s most pampered apples.

  • Hemplify - One of the Tinley Beverage Company’s hemp oil-infused drinks boasts three different flavors of elixirs that are also sugar-free, vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free.

  • G Drinks Lemonades - G Farmalabs partnered with rapper the Game to sell six different flavors of THC-infused lemonades. 

More and more people look are looking for alternatives to hangovers, dehydration and bad decision making. That’s great, but since so much of adult socializing revolves around alcohol-centric activities, it can be difficult to adjust. Just because you’re trying to avoid the negative effects of alcohol doesn’t mean you want socialize less. People still crave the ritual of going out with friends. In addition to new drink options, there is an influx of new bar options, giving sober-minded socializing a place to happen, like:

  • Getaway - A sober bar based in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that offers mixed drinks, ales, tonics, soda, coffee, tea and shrubs, which is a slightly acidic cordial made from vinegar, fruit and club soda. 

  • Daybreaker - More of a club scene replacement than a bar alternative, Daybreaker is an early morning dance party in 25 cities that gives people a place to go and connect without alcohol.

  • Sans Bar - An Austin-based pop up bar that tours the country hosting sober events with a range of non-alcoholic drinks.

  • Vena’s Fizz House - Both a sober and traditional bar located in Portland, Vena’s has a portion of the menu dedicated solely to beverage options without spirits.

  • woolhatbar - Not real, but damn, it’s funny. And a good reminder that some people still want to drink the hard drinks.

Other up-and-coming sober bars include NYC’s sober karaoke bar Juice Box Heroes and NYC-based pop-up Listen Bar, which is a in the process of raising funds for a permanent location.

If you’ve been searching for a healthier happy hour, then your time has arrived, friend. As more people and brands start moving the beat of moderation, you’re likely to see new and exciting options continue to pop up.

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