How I went alcohol-free at a wine show and came back a sober curious convert
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I've always maintained that one does not need to drink to have a good time.
Enter the sober curious individual - a movement that has gained traction among influencers and people who want to cut down on their alcohol consumption.
Research by Nielsen reports that 47% of US consumers over the age of 21 are making an effort to reduce their alcohol intake.
The recent Office for National Statistics revealed that young people aged 16 to 24 years in Great Britain are less likely to drink than any other age group. Around 20.4% of survey respondents reported that they did not drink alcohol at all.
In her book "Sober Curious", British author Ruby Warrington reveals that those who ditch alcohol enjoy greater joy, clarity, confidence, and connection.
I decided to test the theory. I visited the Mercury Wine Week in the last week of August and decided to stay off the wine and look out for some interesting non-alcoholic beverages.
I got weird glances from the stand owners when I asked whether there were non-alcoholic options.
But I did track down a few. One of them was Ice Tropez, a French, lightly sparkling, wine cocktail infused with exotic white peach flavour that is available in alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
Andile Lushozi, the Regional Brand Manager for VIP Liquors who represents the Ice Tropez brand, said that there was an increase in consumers opting for an alcohol-free option.
Next, I went to Bar Serve, a mobile bar company that created signature cocktails.
Claire Harrison explained that they prepared three specialty cocktails using signature gin brands.
For those who didn't drink, the barman prepared an alcohol-free variant.
Among the options included Cuban ginger with apple juice, sugar syrup and ginger ale and Sweet Gin of Mine with Indian or pink tonic served with a selection of G&T Teas in varietals of Mixed chilli, Hibiscus Flower and Mixed Citrus.
My favourite for the evening was the mocktails served at the Thokozani Estate stand.
The mocktails were created using Spar soda water brand and fruit.
They also created cocktails using soda water and Ovation wines. Terrilyn Goldman of Thokozani Estate said it was the perfect summer drink.
That evening I met many people who opted not to drink. After my experience I am definitely a sober curious convert.