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Are you sober curious?

We discover what it means to be sober curious and suggest some fabulous alcohol free drinks to try over the festive season.

How do I stop drinking?
Janey Lee Grace, Founder of the Sober Club

What does it mean to be ‘sober curious’?

We live in a society where many social events revolve around the consumption of alcohol and it can be difficult to say ‘I’m not drinking tonight’ with friends asking ‘what’s wrong’ or ‘one won’t hurt you’ or even ‘you’re no fun without a drink’! With Christmas just around the corner, we have been re-evaluating our relationship with alcohol.

And it seems we are not alone. There has been a significant shift driven partly by people worried about their drinking habits after lockdown (IWSR research group analysis shows 58% of adults worldwide are looking to moderate their drinking) and by millennials who are much more conscious about wellness to reduce or abstain from drinking alcohol. It’s worth noting that drinking alcohol has been associated with 200+ disease and injury conditions and results in about 3 million deaths per year worldwide (World Health Organisation).

The sober curious movement

Being ‘sober curious’ means questioning the ways in which alcohol affects you and the role it plays in your life. Why do I drink? How does it make me feel? Would I say no to social events if there was no alcohol? Do I crave a drink when out for dinner?

Sober curious people don’t necessarily abstain entirely from alcohol but cut it out for a short period of time or may partake in Dry January to experience life without alcohol. They will say no when offered a drink and find other ways to enjoy themselves such as sport or seeking out a new hobby or even launching a podcast!

What's stopping you becoming sober curious?

A real worry for many is the social aspect and what to drink as an alternative to alcohol so that you still feel included. It can get boring really fast if fizzy drinks and water are the only alcohol-free drinks on offer

There have been zero alcohol beers and lagers on the market since the 1970s. Fashionable mocktails have thankfully come a long way since the sickly sweet ‘Shirley Temple’ was created in the 1930s by a bartender in Hollywood for the child actress Shirley Temple. But it was not until 2014 that low and no-alcohol developments in the British spirits industry began to get traction when Ben Branson founded Seedlip, which is now one of the UK’s most successful non-alcoholic botanical spirits.

In 2019, ex-Made in Chelsea star Spencer Matthews founded CleanCo after quitting drinking and he dispels one of the fears many sober curious have “you can still go out and be sociable, and also enjoy yourself with a clean drink that tastes just like the real stuff. You don't have to be confined to a dull soft drink. The key is getting used to being in social situations without the stimulation of alcohol and not relying on it for confidence.”

Recent innovation and advancements in the NOLO drinks sector

Fortunately, there have been great strides within the last few years with brands developing a range of delicious AF (alcohol-free) drinks. There are now numerous NOLO (non-alcohol and low alcohol) alternatives out there and as technology develops even non-alcoholic wines which, until recently have had a bad reputation (for good reason!) are improving.

Some of the great brands we tried included, Pentire, Saicho, Cognato, Lyres, Smashed Drynks,Caleno Three Spirits, LA Brewery and Noseco. Read our blog 'Good Clean Fun' to discover our favourites!

Health Benefits of being sober curious

Anyone listening to our podcast will know we always seem to end up talking about disastrous diets and attempts at weight loss. From our experience, we can tell you reducing your alcohol helps! Along with a plethora of other benefits such as improved skin, mental alertness, lower blood pressure, reduced brain fog and increased energy.

Final thoughts

Sober curious is not for everyone and for those struggling with alcoholism is not the right step. If you think you have a problem with alcohol do consult your doctor.

But if you wish to take a more mindful approach to drinking then it is well worth considering. There are now so many great-tasting alternatives with restaurants and bars increasingly offering NOLO options on their menus. In addition, groups like The Sober Club run by Janey Lee Grace, support individuals who wish to stop or reduce their drinking, advising on what other options are available and working with the hospitality industry to improve AF choices. Plus there are some helpful books including

Listen to our podcast 'Sober Curious' where we chat Janey, Kate and Mandy.

Read our blog 'Good Clean Fun' to learn more about our favourite non-alcoholic drinks.

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