A new bar in the city of Melbourne, Australia, looks like an ordinary bar. But one thing that sets it apart, the bar serves alcohol-free drinks.
Stephen Lawrence, the bar owner, said, “There are many kinds of drinks, everything you would expect in a normal bar, only this is without alcohol.”
Lawrence says many consumers don’t even know the difference in taste. “Beer and wine are produced in a very similar way to alcoholic drinks, so you can taste the same, and you can have the same social experience as if you were drinking alcohol,” he explained.
While sales of alcoholic beverages increased during the pandemic, demand for alcohol-free drinks has also soared as sales of liquor, wine and non-alcoholic beer have doubled in the past 12 months.
Gabriella Rush, liquor salesman of the Dan Murphy chain, observes, “Every day, we receive an influx of customers who are genuinely enthusiastic and looking for that non-alcoholic drink.”
This trend changed the look of liquor stores. Alcohol-free drinks are now sold on the store shelves. Rush said, “We had to drastically rearrange the shop. There is a lot of space to prepare for a variety of non-alcoholic beverage options.”
Andy Miller’s alcohol-free beer company is doubling its production almost every month. Miller noted, “We couldn’t produce it fast enough to meet demand.”
Meanwhile writer and journalist Jill Stark stopped drinking alcohol after drinking too much of it in her youth. Stark explained, “I was accused of not being Australian for not drinking, that I was boring, and that I couldn’t be trusted.”
But giving up drinking was not something he regretted. He said, “I become a much better person if I don’t drink. My mental health has improved a lot.”
Despite the obvious health benefits, many people who have given up drinking miss the social side of bar visits.
Stark also said, “I really miss rituals and opportunities for drinks at the end of the day. I can do this by drinking non-alcoholic champagne, or a cold, alcohol-free beer on a hot day.” A healthier step that is worth a try. [uh/ab]