The new explosion of non alcoholic drinks includes gin, whiskey, non alcoholic wine, and every other spirit you can imagine.
Non alcoholic drinks that taste like real spirits are growing in popularity for the health conscious and sober curious, but how will it affect people in recovery from alcoholism? Non alcoholic beer has been around for ages, of course; but did you know that alcohol free wines and liquors are a thing too? If you are anything like me, I was shocked to find out about this sub industry’s growing popularity.
What do non alcoholic drinks look like
Pricing, packaging, and brands are all similar to their alcoholic counterparts, and that’s exactly what sober people work hard to avoid. Surprisingly, by the year 2024, the non alcoholic beverage market is set for a 7.6% compound annual growth rate. So what’s the deal, and what does this growing fad of non alcoholic drinks mean to the recovery world?
Reader beware: I guarantee your social media is going to be riddled with non alcoholic spirit, wine, and beer ads after spending time researching the topic. My Facebook has been jacked up on booze-free beer all week. The algorithms are listening hard with this one. I checked it out for research, and now I’m on the list as a potential buyer.
The market is there
The leading reason for this growing popularity is the health consciousness promoted by Millennials and Generation Z. The Upsider states: “With Millennials and Gen Z drinking less booze than the generations that came before them, many manufacturers, pubs and bars—including some of the world’s top establishments—are developing drinks with flavour, depth and sophistication to cater to them.” Therefore, since more consumers are seeking healthy alternatives to drinking their favorite alcoholic drinks, brands and bars are jumping on the opportunity to meet demand.
I stumbled upon an interesting quote from an online non-alcoholic wine and drink store. What does this say about our taste for booze?
Alcohol-free beverages are safe to drink for pregnant women, recovering alcoholics and those unable to consume alcohol because of health or religious reasons. As upcoming generations value the morality of inclusivity, non-alcoholic beverages become more popular because of their availability for everyone.Beclink
This speaks volumes to how engrained drinking alcohol is in our society. Those are some pretty serious reasons to not drink alcohol — pregnancy, alcoholism, health, and religion — what’s the point of tempting yourself? How interesting that society is endorsing non alcoholic drinks when they could be promoting something not related to alcohol altogether. Or how about this — simply hyping up the sober lifestyle … without contradicting it.
The main reasons you’ll hear as to why people are jumping on this fad is for the taste and the social aspect. While this may be acceptable for some, recovering addicts and alcoholics need to consider how partaking in these drinks could impact their sobriety.
Is alcohol free really alcohol free
Just because a drink is labeled as “alcohol-free” or “non alcoholic” doesn’t mean it is completely void of alcohol. It actually does contain a small amount (up to 0.05% ABV). This is because some alcohol naturally forms as part of the brewing process. In theory, it takes 10 nonalcoholic drinks to equal 1 standard alcoholic drink with 5% ABV. Therefore, you could start to feel a minor effect of alcohol, but getting drunk is unlikely.
What about the trigger aspect of non alcoholic drinks
Recovering alcoholics should consider potential triggers and consequences for searching for that satisfying taste or comforting ritual. It’s a very real possibility that putting nonalcoholic vodka in your cranberry juice will set off the same phenomenon of craving that alcohol does. The taste will trigger the euphoric recall and glorify your drinking days. Our disease loves to cause our mind to forget the true madness of the malady of addiction. Remember, alcoholism is “cunning, baffling, and powerful.”
And then there’s the drink-making ritual
Even the ritual of making that drink can have power over us. You have to buy the non alcoholic spirit, make your drink, and then consume it. There are many behaviors here that are red flags: going into a liquor store, playing bartender for yourself, and consuming the drink (maybe even routinely) either socially or solo. These behaviors mirror acts like while we were drinking. It hits very close to home. It’s like the concept that hanging around a bar will eventually get you drunk. Consuming nonalcoholic beverages is the closest thing to putting a real drink back in your system.
Sobriety is paying attention to relapse prevention tips
Protect your sobriety at all costs and check your motives in wanting to drink nonalcoholic beverages. If you are concerned about appearances, trust me, no one cares as much as we think they do. Try choosing new rituals for relapse prevention to avoid triggering the beast inside. Instead of pouring a nonalcoholic toddy when you get off work at 5 o’clock, go for a walk, do a meditation, or make a healthy snack. Changing your habits will soon become second nature, and you’ll still rock that “sober is sexy” vibe. If you need help with your sobriety, be sure to explore AA, NA,