Sober is the new sexy: Why many Aussies are cutting back on the booze


  • A Nielsen report discovered that 66% of 21-34 yr previous alcohol drinkers in Australia are making an effort to scale back their general alcohol consumption.
  • One of the main causes for cutting back on alcohol is being extra health-conscious.
  • Business Insider spoke to corporations Non and Brunswick Aces, which produce styles of non-alcoholic drinks, to offer their insights on the sober development.

‘Going out for drinks’ is a standard chorus amongst Australians, whether or not it’s for a celebration or as a approach to meet up with buddies. And whereas ‘drinks’ often means alcohol, there is a rising development of Aussies opting to not solely curb their alcohol consumption however even attain for a non-alcoholic bevvy as an alternative.

According to Drinkwise, 20% of Australians abstained from alcohol in 2017, an 11% improve from 2007.

A Nielsen report famous that Australians are cutting down the quantity of alcohol they drink, with “one in four claiming they have done so recently”. It added that 66% of 21-34 yr previous alcohol drinkers stated they are making an effort to scale back their general alcohol consumption.

The fundamental purpose for Aussies decreasing the quantity of consuming? Choosing a more healthy way of life, in response to Nielsen.

In 2018, Michael Livingston, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research at La Trobe University, highlighted the decline of young Australians consuming alcohol compared to older Australians. He discovered that Australia’s angle to alcohol has modified over the previous 15 years.

“In general, people are more concerned about the risks of drinking, more likely to support restrictive alcohol policies and generally more aware of the potential harms,” Livingston informed Business Insider in an e mail.

“However, the angle shifts haven’t flowed via to consumption modifications for older drinkers. We’re unsure precisely why this is – clearly modifications to attitudes are extra more likely to have an effect on younger individuals’s behaviours: they’ve not established consuming habits but and haven’t developed years of associations between alcohol and celebration, commiseration et cetera.

“In contrast, older people are pretty set in their drinking ways – improvements in knowledge and attitudes are not going to be enough to shift their behaviours in the same way.”

And amid this discount in alcohol consumption is the reputation of brief time period alcohol-free occasions like Dry July and FebFast which have the double advantage of donating to varied causes.

But what are you able to drink as an alternative?

Non-alcoholic drinks

Sure, water and tender drinks are an choice whenever you’re making an attempt to chop down on the booze. Alternatively, there is a plethora of non-alcoholic beer, wine and spirit choices which have been popping up in Australia and round the world.

There are corporations reminiscent of Seedlip, which claims it produces the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits, and main alcohol manufacturers like Heineken and Carlton and United Breweries which have rolled out their very own ranges of non-alcoholic beers.

A report from IWSR, which does analysis on alcohol developments round the world, discovered there is a “discernable trend” of aware consuming in Australia.

It discovered that greater than half of shoppers surveyed indicated that “they have or would consider drinking low-/no-alcohol products, spurring a small but burgeoning low-/no-alcohol industry in the country”.

One of these corporations specialising in these non-alcoholic choices is Melbourne-based Brunswick Aces.

The firm launched in 2017 and produces non-alcoholic drinks which it calls ‘sapiir’. It has a non-alcoholic gin referred to as ‘Spades’, in addition to ‘Hearts’, which is impressed by mulled wines.

Brunswick Aces Co-founder and CEO Stephen Lawrence advised Business Insider Australia in an e mail that the firm began out as a venture between neighbours “to create something we could all share and enjoy when some of us weren’t drinking.”

Now it exports to New Zealand and Singapore, with expansions set for the US and Europe in 2020.

Lawrence attributed the firm’s success and the broader progress in the non-alcoholic beverage area, to the angle towards well being in Australia.

“Aussies are inherently healthy, and as we have seen in the rise of moderation in the food industry with a reduction of meat consumption, as well as the popularity of no sugar drinks and the rise of kombucha, this health trend has expanded to encompass the alcohol industry,” he stated.

While Brunswick Aces doesn’t vouch for full abstinence from alcohol, Lawrence stated it promotes a life-style of moderation. “We support the healthy consumption of alcohol and sometimes that means having a non-alcoholic G&T on a Thursday night in front of the TV, and a few alcoholic G&Ts with friends on a Friday,” he stated.

But who precisely is going for Brunswick Aces’ product?

“The majority of our consumers are women over 25 years old but we see a broad cross-section represented in who enjoys our products,” Lawrence stated. “The most fascinating factor about our buyer base is that the overwhelming majority like to host and guarantee their visitors are nicely catered for, no matter their choice for alcohol.

“Our sapiir was developed to bring our own community together and it’s great to see that it’s able to do the same for our customers and their communities.”

Another firm which produces non-alcoholic drinks is NON, which specialises in non-alcoholic wine. Managing Director and Co-founder Aaron Trotman informed Business Insider in an e mail that the concept for it got here from a dialog about non-alcoholic pairings whereas eating in eating places.

“As we developed the drinks, we realised there isn’t enough complexity or “adultness” in non-alcoholic drinks or they are typically far too candy,” Trotman stated.

“A ready to pour option without any mixers was what we wanted to develop. Just like when you eat at a good restaurant there’s no salt & pepper on the table.”

According to Bazaar, the non-alcoholic wines are even stocked in prime eating places in the nation together with Quay and Bar Liberty.

Like Stephen Lawrence, Trotman factors to well being as one among the major the reason why individuals select non-alcoholic drinks.

“Mindful consumption is the way people consume now,” Trotman stated. “Social changes are another one, younger people don’t think it’s cool to get smashed, and this is also social media being caught on camera out of it. With the rise of social media young people socialise very differently now also.”

Trotman additionally pointed to a different issue which might play into the choice. “The #MeToo movement has made women think very carefully about where and how much they drink. It’s all for very good reasons in our opinion.”

Choosing to go sober

There are many the reason why some individuals select to not drink alcohol, however it may be troublesome to stay to it when classmates, co-workers and your mates could make you are feeling the strain to drink.

But one organisation is lending a hand for these in that state of affairs.

Untoxicated is a gaggle for individuals who need to socialise with out alcohol. Launched in 2018, the organisation has since grown to round three,500 members, with teams assembly in Sydney, Melbourne and on-line.

Untoxicated founder Faye Lawrence advised Business Insider Australia she had been a heavy drinker for round 30 years “until eventually the wheels fell off” and she or he went into inpatient detox in 2017.

Lawrence described “high-functioning drinkers” as these “who hold down demanding jobs, raise kids, pay the mortgage and keep it together for the most part, all while drinking heavily”.

She defined that when she lastly stopped consuming, it was each fascinating and terrifying. “I didn’t know how to operate in the world because alcohol was so entrenched with my ‘life and soul of the party’ identity,” she stated. “I also didn’t really have any coping mechanisms – I’d always just used booze.”

Lawrence added that in the previous, she had succumbed to a whole lot of peer strain to drink and even “doled it out to others”. But this time, having recognized how dangerous issues had gotten for her, Lawrence was agency in her determination to not drink and she or he discovered that “people seemed to accept that.”

“I think the difference this time was that I totally owned it,” she stated. “There’s nothing to [be] embarrassed about, simply since you’re not consuming.

“It’s fascinating as a result of individuals routinely assume when you’re sober you’re judging them for consuming, which is simply not the case. I nonetheless go to bars typically; I don’t consider in preaching and I don’t hate booze. Many individuals are capable of take pleasure in it carefully.

“But I would like to see acceptance of people’s choice not to drink. After all, we don’t pressure people to take drugs or cigarettes when they quit.”

But the choice to not drink alcohol doesn’t all the time should stem from having an issue with consuming.

Lawrence mentions the many and diversified the reason why individuals are selecting to go sober, together with those that have by no means actually appreciated alcohol, those that don’t take pleasure in the results of alcohol or being round drunk individuals, spiritual and cultural causes, well being and wellness causes or simply wanting to chop back.

And, based on Lawrence, individuals who have joined Untoxicated “love it” as they are capable of socialise with no strain to drink. “It’s literally and metaphorically taken off the table,” she stated.

Still a method to go

While alcohol will all the time exist – actually ISWR forecasts there will be an increase in alcohol consumption around the world in 2023 – there is a rising motion catering for many who need to reduce down.

Lawrence acknowledged that there is nonetheless a “massive way to go” for there to be a higher acceptance in Australia of people that choose to not drink.

“It’s such an issue for Untoxicated members, many of whom really want to cut back or stop, but the pressure from friends and work colleagues can be overwhelming,” she stated.

“It’s something you hear over and over again. ‘Don’t be so boring’ or ‘just have one’ or people being ‘playfully’ threatened with being disinvited from events.”

But in the event you’re making an attempt to curb your alcohol consumption, Faye Lawerence suggested being true to your self. “If you feel like you want to give up – for whatever reason – then give it a go,” she stated. “It doesn’t need to be perpetually, perhaps simply attempt it for a month with a way of curiosity and see how you are feeling.

“I don’t attempt to persuade individuals to give up, as a result of it’s not my life and it’s not my enterprise, however for me it’s been a complete recreation changer.

“I’m coming up to two years sober and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. What you gain totally overshadows any perceived loss. I wish I’d done it sooner. And I never in a million years ever thought I’d say that.”

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