Ritual Tequila Festival
More than a Ritual
The new Market of Adult Drinks is growing even as more people turn away from alcohol
For decades we’ve kept children away from alcoholic beverages because of the effect of alcohol on the developing child. Having done this, we created an interesting “Adult Drink” category. Today however, young adults are choosing to step away from alcohol even though they are fully developed adults. They have looked around and seen that drinking alcohol continues to hinder growth, clarity, and mindfulness even as an adult. This is no secret, we are seeing books published left and right that speak of the problems of alcohol, Sober Curious, , and Alcohol Is Shit just to name a few. This presents an interesting gap where we previously saw “Adult Drinks.”
Going to a bar today and hearing someone order a nonalcoholic beverage is increasingly common. What they are getting however is anything but common. It used to be that your only options were sugary sodas or juices, both notched a tad higher in sugar due to their primary use being in mixers. Today however, the Adult beverage category has been exploding with options. And “options” is the key word here. As an ArKay Beverages representative stated in response to someone on Social Media “[we] know that ArKay is not a solution, only an option for those it suits.” These new elixirs, mixers, and alcohol substitutes are not coming after alcohol, nor are they trying to save the world from alcoholism, what they are doing is presenting a new option. With options comes opportunities for people to choose differently.
When I interviewed Emily Lynn Paulson, author of “Highlight Real,” for my Recover Yourself podcast, she stated that “[when we drink in front of our children] we are teaching them that drinking is a requirement.” She is setting the stage for a new generation, and her strength to turn on the culture in which she was cemented within for years, is not small feat.
This new generation of people turning away from alcohol is asking for a new definition of what an “adult drink” can be. As someone with 19 years in recovery I welcome the new conversation and I am interested in seeing where the adult drink category can go. I recall the heat and the full olfactory sensation that alcohol would provide me when I drank it. When balanced well, I recall having drinks that were complex and excited different parts of my mouth. As an adult I enjoy earthy flavors, fullness, and complexities. Is this something we can enjoy without the alcohol?
Ten years ago Kevin Purdy wrote a post titled “What Alcohol Does to Your Brain and Body” in it he stated “Your body sees alcohol as a poison.” One year after that article came out the first alcohol substitute hit the market and was widely met with resistance and ridicule, that product was ArKay. They are still at it today producing by far the best alcohol substitute on the market with the widest selection of any other line.
Today bars and restaurants have an increasing number of options to choose from when it comes to nonalcoholic adult beverages. These options are finally being taken seriously having had 50 different bars feature a nonalcoholic mixed drink during the past Paris Cocktail Week. Pernod Ricard, the renowned and distinguished alcohol dealer is now touching base in the nonalcoholic world with Cedar’s and Celtic Soul alternatives to Gin and Brown Spirits respectively. With so many Gin substitutes on the market I feel like we should just tackle it now. Ritual Gin, ArKay Gin, GinFree by Aldi, Nona June, Borrago, Surendran & Bownes Edition Zero: Labdanum, No ghost in a Bottle, Ginsin, Seedlip, Caleno, Stryyk Not Gin, Ginish, Herbie Virgin, Brunswick Aces are all Gin alternatives and they each approach it slightly differently. If you are a fan of Gin and it seems like the market assumes you are, you’re going to have a great night exploring these varieties. Teetotal G&T, Saint G&T, and The Duchess G&T are all bottled Gin and Tonic if you didn’t want to mix it yourself. Teetotal also make a Cuba Libre, with is a Dark Rum and Cola. Moving onto Rum Stryyk Not Rum, Rumish, ArKay Rum, and Rosin are your Rum alternatives. When it comes to Whiskey, we have the 15 different variety produced by ArKay, and then Ritual Whiskey and Whissin which is a Spanish nonalcoholic whisky Produced by Espafador, and like all of these products Whissin is suggested to be used as a mixer.
I brushed over Seedlip but I am returning to it now. Diageo’s “Drink to the Future” nonalcoholic flagship, Seedlip, (which nobody is a stranger to today I am sure) is doing things a bit differently in this area. They are a distillate product, which many are, but they step away from trying to mimic Gin, even though I put them in that category, they are creating something altogether different.
Some alternate brands like Kin are adding adaptogens and going for a healthy and conscious buzz with their line of adult beverages. ArKay uses an extract from capsaicin which causes a euphoric feeling and can be described as a bit of a head buzz as well. There are many elixirs that are just making a market for themselves without the need to lean on the history of alcohol. Mind your Manna’s Fire Brew considers themselves a wellness tonic and is seen as an additive to your beverage choices, like all the other options I address in this article.
So we have an open market of companies trying to give people something to sip while connecting. This is where the Dry Bar will come into play. There are a lot of great financial reasons why a Dry Bar is a smart bet, but it seems like the market is more than ready. After talking with some of these nonalcoholic producers it seems like they are being approached by more and more individuals looking to open totally dry bars. Sans Bar in Austin TX is one of the first to gain real notoriety and are in the process of touring the country bringing these and other brands into the awareness of everyone. I have to say Chris Marshall of Sana Bar turned me onto ArKay and the rest is history.
Ritual Vodka Festival
In the light of India’s major halt to liquor sales, to which major liquor concerns have been calling upon the government to change, the world is beginning to understand the meaning of essential. Is alcohol an essential part of our lives in times like these? Ingesting a product that not only impairs our judgment but also weakens our immune system is probably not something we want to support when it comes to risking the lives of our families, friends, neighbors, and selves.
Alcohol has been at the core of culture throughout the history of the world. If we watch enough nature shows we’ll even see that animals find fermenting fruits and gorge themselves drunk. Religions and cultures all around the world either embrace it or resist it. That alone gives alcohol credence as a substance that life is either enhanced or hindered by. The fact that alcohol is so pervasive in our lives it has become good business.
We have a global economy that continues to expand. New products are introduced every day and opportunities to engage those products are opening due to this pandemic. When we look at alcohol, and what is really essential in our lives, we can easily see people turning away from it. This has been happening for quite some time despite the efforts to stop the market slide by those who make, serve, and deliver alcohol. This is not being caused by groups like AA or SMART recovery because, as unfunded nonprofit organizations, their marketing strategies haven’t changed in any way. However, the natural turning away from alcohol is a shift in mindset.
Years ago, I recall a winter that was especially bad, with large amounts of snow and exceptionally cold stretches. There was talk from people who worked at the zoo that animals were hording their food leading up to that winter. There is a connection we have to the world and that connection can drive us to do things that we may have not previously thought possible. Without concrete facts or reasons, we act listening to our instincts. The way forward is not going to be to return to what we used to know. New ideas, new products, and opening ourselves up to the possibilities and opportunities around us.
Since 2011 alcohol-free beverage company ArKay has been making Vodka, Whisky, and Rum alternatives. Following his instincts and moving toward that which he believed in Reynald Grattagliano started ArKay. Today more people are turning to his products than ever before. The entire line of 33 Arkay flavors allows those who want to have a refreshing and complex beverage to enjoy one without having to compromise their health or judgment. As increasing numbers of people are looking to step away from alcohol, and the world is give them good reason, Reynald is hoping to get the message out that our health needs to come before the old idea of alcohol as an essential part of life. Following the lead of Reynald many other products that have no alcohol have hit the market some of which are being distributed through traditional major liquor concerns showing that the market is only growing.
This is a new idea, Alcohol-Free free living is not currently supported by the media, marketing or most of the world, but we are turning to it, however slowly we are turning to it. Our instincts are moving us towards our own survival and alcohol is no longer seen as the best way we can invest in that.