Non Alcoholic Start
The non alcoholic revolution started with Dry January, where many take the month off from drinking alcohol after going a bit too far during the holidays and New Year. However with the pandemic, a very noticeable trend is the extension of Dry January into the rest of the year. While some indulged a bit more due to boredom, many people took the opportunity to reset their lifestyle and determine whether or not they wanted their social lives to revolved around alcohol. After all, many believe that drinking alone could be the beginning of a problem, and when the Zoom happy hour is over and the half bottle of wine is about to go bad, perhaps the guilt takes over.
The sober revolution continues on Instagram where hashtags like #SoberCurious, #SoberLife, #SoberAF, #SoberSaturday, #SoberIsSexy, and #SelfCareSaturdays sometimes trend or are shared by celebrities or other influencers. As Instagram continues to be a showcase for health and wellness influencers showing off their physiques, physical feats, and healthy foods, the sober influencers have followed along. And it’s working. Nearly everyone wants to be sober enough to take and post a photo at the right moment and everyone wants to look good enough in it. This obsession is driving the fitness, health, and self care markets from yoga to meditation to vegans to the sober influencers, basically, anything consumers can do to improve their lives is trending.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Financially the economy is estimated at $4.2 Trillion and demographically the WHO points out that teens and young adults are the ones giving up the booze. (Now if they are replacing it with other substances that are being legalized, like marijuana or psychedelics remains to be seen or is the new generation simply sober). From this $4.2 Trillion many sober coaches are selling programs, skin care products or other alcohol alternatives. (However, keep in mind that many coaches are not trained or licensed professionals. Rather they are speaking and providing advice based on their own experiences. Clients, though, are raving about the results and these coaches have made a great living.)
Bricks and Mortar
The alcohol alternative market is booming. Many new non alcoholic brands have popped up from Kin to Ghia to Seedlip to Aplos with proprietary blends of herbs and other natural ingredients made to recreate a “natural” high in your drink. Even stores like Spirited Away in NYC’s LES, one of the areas of the world with the greatest density of bars, have enjoyed success amidst this new trend.
“Until pretty recently, if you wanted to enjoy the taste of a complex, sophisticated cocktail, it was hard to avoid alcohol. Now an abundance of new booze-free spirits, aperitifs, shrubs, wines and amaros make it possible to have an adult drink (or several) with friends and still feel great when you wake up the next morning. And the industry is still in its infancy. I can’t wait to see what other new and varied non alcoholic concoctions arise in the years to come. I’ll continue to curate and stock the best of them at Spirited Away”, Douglas K. Watters, Founder of Spirited Away, weighs in on the industry’s prospects.
Even alcohol brands have played along with Heineken providing a 30 pack of Heineken 0.0 for specific influencers (disclosure: they sent me one!) and the White Claw-ization that every brand from Budweiser to Diageo is creating. CNN reports a decline in alcohol sales since the pandemic although this is up significantly from non pandemic year of 2019. The numbers would have fallen further if not for the aforementioned spiked seltzer trend.
Is the non alcoholic future here to stay? Will this go the way of how every restaurant now has a vegan option including Beyond and Impossible Meats? Or will this fizzle out like Zima (if you’re old enough to remember 🙂 )?
Have your drinking habits changed because of an influencer you follow or because of a product you’ve discovered? Let us know!