Whether they be lower in alcohol than traditional beer, wine or cocktails–or they contain no alcohol at all–the natural products industry is stepping up to offer better-for-you drink options for guilt-free refreshments. Becoming “sober curious”–at least some of the time–has been a steadily growing trend in the wellness community. Scores of Instagram accounts sing the benefits of reducing alcohol consumption, which range from improved skin to a reduced risk of serious diseases, and restaurants across the United States are starting to use just as much artistry in nonalcoholic mocktails as they are in cocktails.
It was the realization that many teetotaling adults wanted interesting, tasty beverages to sip on (so long, cranberry-seltzer) that sparked bar owner John Wiseman to launch Curious Elixirs, a line of nonalcoholic drinks that employ organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and bittering agents to craft complex, dry beverages that are reminiscent of classic cocktail drinks. “This movement is all about people being more mindful about diet choices. Our mission is to normalize what it means to drink socially,” says Wiseman, who adds that many folks trying to cut back on alcohol feel isolated because so many social activities are centered on drinking. Now stocked in many restaurants and nightclubs, Curious Elixirs (whose motto is “Shaken Not Slurred”) can help remove the stigma of not drinking. “It shouldn’t be strange at all to cut back,” says Wiseman.
On the other end of the spectrum, some traditionally nonalcoholic beverages such as kombucha are launching lines with alcoholic contents of up to 5.6 percent (and selling them in the liquor store section/liquor store partner of natural stores). Plus, the concept of “New School Alcohol” is included in SPINS’ Top 10 Trend Predications 2019, indicating that this trend has big potential.
Click through the following slides to learn which beer and wine alternatives caught our eye.