I told you all about my first sober business conference.
What struck me is the abysmal choice of non-alcoholic beverages on offer for the after-conference evenings. This event was held at a massive stateside Sheraton, a worldwide chain. And yet the choices were excruciatingly average and boring: water, club soda (go crazy with a lime in it!), Pellegrino, ginger ale, OJ or a Coke. Oh yeah, go ahead and get a Virgin Mary if you’re feeling crazy. But that’s about it!! No non-alcoholic beer or wine. Certainly no 0% alcohol spirits, creative nonalcoholic mixed drinks, herbal infused health drinks or Kombucha.
And they looked at me like I was loco in la cabeza asking for something other than those choices on offer. I wanted something tasty and cold AND without alcohol. It’s like you are being punished for being so B.O.R.I.N.G. because you don’t drink alcohol.
Why is this important to me? I think having a selection of delicious beverages is an encouragement to enjoy yourself on all levels. A way to feel you don’t stand out as the person-who-can’t-hold-their-alcohol. I love things that taste delightful. I’d have been happy if the hotel had even one creative healthy drink on offer.
I happened across a website yesterday called Club Soda, which promotes a “Mindful Drinking movement”. It is mainly about staying creatively sober throughout your beverage choices.
The website also seems to be about having a much better selection of non-alcoholic drinks available at the bar – and in the shops. I like that! There are Mindful Drinking Festivals that run throughout the UK, showing off new ranges of 0% alcohol beverages on offer. From spirits, wine, beer, mixed drinks, herbal infusions, to punch. (Hoping this festival will come to Ireland and beyond as well.)
I’m really wondering why this brave new world of beverage selections in the UK is not making its way into hotels, restaurants and business conferences around the world. And in retail outlets too, by the way. Walmart carries no non-alcoholic beer or wine of any kind! Target carries O’Doul’s beer and Fre wine.
The makers of Duchess, a South African alcohol-free Gin & Tonic, says the times are a-changin’: “We think the stigma that alcohol is a necessity in a social setting has dramatically changed in the last few years. Consumers are valuing the quality of their experiences in different ways that does not include the amount of alcohol that you consume. It is no longer frowned upon to go dry or to limit alcohol intake.”
Come on hotels, restaurants and bars – get with the program!!
P.S. The gin labels I feature in the image for this post (absolutely beautiful labels) – are for Seedlip —and the founder was JUST featured in an article. I think we’re on the verge of a whole movement of beautiful adult beverages, but without alcohol.