The Rise of Non-Alcoholic Beverages (Plus The Ultimate List to Try This Summer!)


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Before you reach the legal drinking age, the phrase “you don’t need alcohol to have fun” is often used by parents to convince their children to hold off on drinking. Of course, you probably didn’t believe them. After all, in most movies, it seemed like alcohol was the driving factor of fun. 

Though you may have scoffed as a rebellious teenager, we regret to inform you, like with most things, your mom was right. The movement towards being more conscientious about drinking has steadily been growing over the past few years. In fact, the non-alcoholic beverage market is estimated to grow to $1732.7 billion USD by 2028—a massive jump from the $923.06 million USD it was reported to be in 2020. 

So, what gives? What is causing this massive boom? And why are people rethinking drinking?

An alcohol-free lifestyle

[ via @somegoodcleanfun on Instagram]

A person’s decision whether to drink or not drink is extremely personal, however, the recent boom in the non-alcoholic beverage category suggests that many people are feeling the same way—and wanting more options.

Sarah Kate, Founder of Some Good Clean Fun, is an advocate for normalizing and celebrating an alcohol-free lifestyle and rethinking the way society views drinking. Before embracing an alcohol-free lifestyle, she admits it was easy to slip into the “wine mommy” culture of hurriedly tucking her kids into bed, so she could get to enjoy her coveted glass of wine. 

“I realized, in the last couple of years, I was constantly reaching out every day for a glass of wine,” she said. “Then it turned into two and then it turned into three and I started feeling like I was starting to get into some dangerous habits.”

When she began to realize she was sneaking glasses of wine in more often than not, Sarah Kate tried to phase out alcohol on her own. However, she found that the harder she tried to stop drinking, the harder it became to make a reality. 

It wasn’t until someone recommended The Naked Mind by Annie Grace, that she was able to detach herself from her relationship with alcohol.

“It blew my mind and it opened up this idea of what alcohol actually is and what it does to you and why it’s so difficult to quit,” she said “It was a very scientific-based book, but the most important thing for me was it opened my eyes to the reality [of alcohol]. I didn’t know it was a depressant. I didn’t know that it increases anxiety and stress.”

Now, Sarah Kate said she has so much clarity in her everyday life and has experienced other benefits, like more energy and glowing skin.

“I’m 44 and I feel like I’ve aged backwards. I feel like I’m in my thirties again!”

Rethinking drinking

Having been on her journey of living an alcohol-free lifestyle since April 2020, Sarah Kate wants to share the joy she has re-found in life with the rest of the world through creating a non-alcoholic community with Some Good Clean Fun. And she credits the booming non-alcoholic drink industry for helping make it possible.

She lists Sexy AF Spirits, and Sobrii, as some of her favourite non-alcoholic options and likes to keep her house filled with “stock options” in case she ever feels like she’s craving a drink. Though, Sarah Kate believes that we never actually crave a drink, rather, we’ve been conditioned to believe we want one.

“My big theory is that we have implanted alcohol into our relationships and we’ve forgotten how to have relationships without alcohol,” she said.  “But when you’re having a games night with your friends, it’s not the booze that’s making it fun. It’s the company and the activity you’re doing that’s the fun.”

And she seems to not be alone in this journey for re-thinking drinking. The beginning of the pandemic saw winding lines outside of alcohol retailers. However, as a part of non-alcoholic lifestyle groups on Facebook, Sarah Kate said that numbers have doubled since the pandemic began. 

“I think a lot of people are not only coming over to the alcohol-free side but are coming to this realization that it [alcohol] is not serving me. It’s not making me feel good,” she said. “There were the first six months of the pandemic where people were just drinking their faces off because there was so much fear and uncertainty and now they’re like, ‘Wow, this has become really unhealthy.’” 

Non-alcoholic beverages options

As the movement towards non-alcoholic beverages continues to pick up steam, Jo-Anne Reynolds, CEO of Sexy AF Spirits, is along for the ride.

After realizing how limited your options were if you were out in public and wanted a cool, fun drink that wasn’t alcoholic, Reynolds set out to create a line of spirits that could easily be added to any top shelf.

“During work lunches, I didn’t want to drink and have to go back to work and finish a big project that I was working on. And it seemed more of a hindrance than anything else at the end of the day in my life, personally,” said Reynolds. “I thought if I’m going to start an alcohol-free brand, then I need to make sure I’m answering all the questions and making sure it all lines up with what I believe in and what I feel is right with regards to entering into this market because it is so new.”

The company began with the intention of selling to bars and restaurants, but when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down public dining, those plans were put on hold. Luckily, Sexy AF became extremely popular with those who were looking to create delicious alcohol-free drinks at home. It now has almost 20,000 Instagram dedicated followers, who look forward to seeing new ways to use the brand’s non-alcoholic alternatives in new recipes weekly.

Sexy AF Spirits can be used in a way that’s as easy as swapping a gin and tonic recipe with the brand’s ViirGiin. However, getting to that quality takes time. Reynolds said there’s a unique 10 to 60-day process that goes into each alcohol-free spirit.

“It’s not just a juice and it’s not just a mix. It’s a whole new taste profile. It’s next-level botanicals,” she said. “It’s this infusion of so many ingredients to give you this quality premium product that you mix to create your “gin” and tonic.”

As the non-alcoholic beverage movement continues to grow, more innovation is founded each day. So, if you’re looking to make the switch to a zero-alcohol lifestyle, there are more drink options for you than ever before. Here we round up some of the best beverage options to help you transition to that non-alcoholic beverage life.

After sipping on these, you’ll have to call your mom and tell her she was right, you don’t need alcohol to have fun.