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Rise of the Sober Curious

Rise of the Sober Curious

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As we navigated the bustling halls of CES in Las Vegas, a revelation struck me. Amidst the flurry of tech enthusiasts and nightly socials, we had an unexpected option at the bar: Heineken 0.0. This choice was more than just a beverage; it symbolized a growing shift in our social fabric. Sober-curious celebrations such as ‘Dry January’ and ‘Sober October’ are no longer standalone trends but part of an expanding year-round movement towards mindful drinking.

Online, this wave is palpable, with r/StopDrinking on Reddit seeing over 63 million visits, a staggering 18% increase from last year. Meanwhile, TikTok’s #SoberCurious videos have amassed over 828 million views. This isn’t just a fleeting fad; it’s a cultural shift reshaping our approach to socializing and wellness.

@stopdrinkingcoach #stitch with @debtcollective #stopdrinking #quitdrinking #alcoholism #sobercurious ♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Shift to the Health-Conscious Consumer

This personal revelation at CES is not just my story but echoes a larger shift in consumer behavior, particularly among Gen Z and millennials. These generations are increasingly seeking health options that align with their wellness journeys. The rise of wearables like the Apple Watch and Garmin has heightened awareness about the impact of alcohol on sleep, stress, and anxiety. This awareness dovetails with concerns about the ‘loneliness pandemic,’ reflected in the surge of engagement with communities like Reddit’s r/StopDrinking and the #SoberCurious movement on TikTok. As we delve deeper, we’ll explore how this health-conscious trend is reshaping consumer choices and the beverage industry at large.

Data Behind the Sober Curious Movement

sober curious movement
Credit: Veylinx

Recent Mintel research sheds light on the sober curious movement’s growing appeal. Almost 40% of U.S. consumers are exploring this lifestyle, driven by health and budget considerations. This trend is not just about abstaining; it’s about making alcohol an occasional treat. It highlights a shift towards mindfulness in our drinking habits, with a community-centric approach supporting those interested in moderation or abstinence.

A majority of sober curious individuals are concerned about the long-term health impacts of alcohol. This sentiment is especially pronounced among Gen Z and Millennials, who are increasingly embracing a sober curious lifestyle for mental health and wellness reasons. However, most sober curious consumers are primarily interested in turning alcohol into an occasional indulgence. This complex relationship with alcohol suggests a varied adherence to the sober curious lifestyle and indicates a potential market for stress-reducing and sleep-promoting AAs.

Top Brands for Dry January

We’ve all experienced that moment at the bar where your friends realize you’re NOT drinking (pregnant pause). Preparing for the inevitable questions and finding the right words to explain your choice can be challenging. But with the brands I’m about to introduce, you’ll have a great conversation starter. These options not only taste fantastic but also present well, offering a stylish alternative that aligns perfectly with a health-conscious, “socially savvy” lifestyle.

Let’s delve into these standout non-alcoholic brands. Curated by the Breathe team from LA, Atlanta, the Bay Area, and Miami, this list is a blend of taste, presentation, and health-conscious considerations. We’ve focused on factors like flavor, visual appeal, and nutritional content, including calories and ingredients, to ensure these selections meet the highest standards of both enjoyment and well-being. These brands redefine the non-alcoholic beverage experience, making a no-alcohol choice not just acceptable, but desirable and chic. Let’s dive into the top non-alcoholic brands that are making waves in the market:

Beer

  • Heineken 0.0:
    • Price: $10-$14 per 6-pack.
    • Review: Rated 9/10 for its close resemblance to traditional Heineken, featuring a fruity and malty profile. Stands out for its authentic beer taste, appealing to traditional beer lovers.
Heineken Zero Padel for sober curious movement
  • Athletic Brewing:
    • Notable: Their commitment to social and environmental causes, along with a variety of beer styles, makes them a brand with a conscience. Certified B Corp, supporting environmental initiatives.
    • Review: Known for a variety of beer styles, offering a range of flavors and aromas.
athletic brewing on sober curious movement
How Athletic Brewing Co. Introduced Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer to the Masses

Spirits

  • Free AF:
    • Key Feature: Innovative in creating a near-authentic cocktail experience without alcohol. Natural botanical extract mimicking alcohol’s warmth.
    • Review: Close to traditional alcoholic cocktails in taste.
  • Kin Euphorics:
    • Specialty: Focuses on mood enhancement, bridging the gap between wellness and social drinking.
  • Ghia:
    • Variety: Offers a range of flavors, including unique canned spritzes.
  • St. Agrestis:
    • Innovation: Known for their Phony Negroni and other non-alcoholic cocktails.

Ready to Drink (RTD)

  • Mingle Mocktails
    • Their Key Lime Margarita, described as tangy and refreshing, and the Cranberry Cosmo, known for its fresh and light taste, are standout choices. A 12-pack is priced at $39.95, with each 4 oz pour containing only 20 calories, making them a guilt-free indulgence.
    • Appeal: Mingle Mocktails offers a range of sparkling mocktails crafted with clean, natural ingredients. They emulate classic cocktails while being low-calorie, gluten-free, vegan, and all-natural. These drinks provide a sophisticated yet accessible non-alcoholic option, perfect for various settings.
  • Recess:
    • An 8-pack is available for $30. Each drink contains ingredients like guayusa, L-theanine, and lemon balm, designed to provide a balanced boost, ease tension, and support equilibrium. Recess offers a unique collection of mocktails infused with adaptogens and real ingredients. This line includes flavors inspired by classic cocktails like Lime “Margarita,” Grapefruit “Paloma,” Watermelon “Mojito,” and Ginger Lime “Mule.”
    • Key Feature: With 10mg of natural caffeine in each mocktail, they offer a refreshing alternative for those seeking a non-alcoholic yet energizing drink.

Non-Alcoholic Aperitifs

  • Katy Perry’s De Soi:
    • De Soi, created by Morgan McLachlan and Katy Perry, emphasizes botanical-based non-alcoholic spirits. It offers three apéritif flavors: Golden Hour, Purple Lune, and Champignon Dreams, available in cans or bottles. The Purple Lune is rich and delicate with notes of blackberry, vanilla oak, and rose petals, was delicious. De Soi is definitely an upscale vibe suitable for pre-dinner drinks.
    • Key Feature: use adaptogens for relaxation
de soi sober curious movement
  • Ghia:
    • Ghia stands out not just for its taste but also for its striking presentation. The bottle’s design adds a touch of elegance to any bar cart or countertop, sparking curiosity about its contents. Ghia’s recipe, a blend of white riesling grapes with fruit extracts and botanicals, offers a sophisticated, not-too-sweet flavor. Priced at $33 a bottle, Ghia is an affordable indulgence, perfect as a personal treat or a thoughtful gift for those taking a break from alcohol. Its popularity in the fashion world and among celebrities, combined with the influence of its founder Melanie Masarin, has made Ghia a notable player in the sober-curious community since its mid-2020 launch.
    • Key feature: presentation is everything!
  • St. Agrestis:
    • Innovation: St. Agrestis offers a unique mocktail experience with their amaro, crafted in Brooklyn from organic herbs, roots, and botanicals, and aged in local whiskey barrels. This spirit, sweetened with organic sugar cane, provides a sophisticated alternative to traditional evening cocktails. At $39.99 a bottle, it’s a worthy addition for those seeking a high-quality, non-alcoholic option. The Phony Negroni, in particular, stands out for its versatility in mixology, offering a delightful base for creative mocktail concoctions.

These brands, with their diverse offerings, cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences, providing appealing options for those exploring the sober curious lifestyle.

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Miami’s Best Mocktails: Navigating Dry January with Style and Flavor

January in Miami is a social whirlwind, packed with events from day to night. Amidst the flurry of activities like Padel Playhouse, Sexy Fish, and Space, maintaining balance is key. This list is a guide to the best non-alcoholic menu options across various Miami neighborhoods, helping you keep pace with the social scene while enjoying healthier beverage choices. Whether you’re in Wynwood or South Beach, these top mocktail spots ensure you can fully engage in Miami’s vibrant lifestyle without missing a beat.

Here’s a summarized list of Miami’s best mocktails for Dry January:

  1. DOM’s (Brickell): Offers zero-proof cocktails featuring Lyres NA Spirits and custom mocktails with fresh fruit and juices.
  2. MAYAMI Mexicantina (Wynwood): Serves light and refreshing agua frescas in various flavors.
  3. Puttshack (Brickell): Combines mocktails with mini-golf, featuring options like the Hibiscus Mock Mule and Peach Free Bellini.
  4. Macchialina (South Beach): Presents the n/a-friendly Lady Antonella cocktail.
  5. Osaka Cocina Nikkei (Brickell): Mocktails with similar texture and depth as regular cocktails, like the Osk Fresh.

As we’ve seen, the sober curious movement is gaining momentum, and Miami’s thriving scene is embracing it with open arms. From the trendy ambiance of Brickell to the creative hubs of Wynwood, the city is bursting with non-alcoholic delights. Whether you’re savoring a Heineken 0.0 or exploring innovative mocktails, the journey to mindful drinking is full of surprises. And here’s a teaser: Breathe is taking this movement a step further with “Mindful Mix,” an exclusive sober curious pop-up bar. Stay tuned for an experience where health, community, and great taste converge!

See Our Other Breathe Cities:

Breathe Atlanta         Breathe Los Angeles

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