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Today I explore no-alcohol adult drinks. It’s a fast-growing market that has led many well-established wine companies to invest heavily to remove the alcohol content from their popular wines. And it’s not just limited to wines, today you can buy a wide range of no-alcohol beers, and spirits that taste like their alcoholic equivalent, as well as sophisticated standalone botanicals which recreate the experience of an alcoholic drink with no negative side effects. With the alcohol stripped from the drink, many of these products are low in calories, and provided you don’t mix them with a high-sugar mixer, no-alcohol adult drinks are a great way to cut back on alcohol during the silly season, lose weight, and feel like you’re still part of the party.

Brian Cohen founder of Banks Botanicals, explained the rising trend of no-alcohol drinks and how it’s driven by a sober conscious Gen Z, and 40–45-year (mostly) women trying to stay on top of raising kids and rising careers. Search  #sobercurious and see for yourself the number of fresh faces there are out there touting the benefits of an alcohol-free life. According to Brian, the hardest nuts to crack, are in my age group, 50 – 60 + who question the point of drinking non-alcoholic drinks that look alcoholic.

What is the point of no alcohol drinks?

I get the argument; what’s the point in paying for a no-alcohol drink when you can drink water instead? The point is that many of us choose not to drink water because we miss the “experience” of drinking in a social environment. Here’s an example: I only drink decaf coffee. When I first quit caffeine and ordered herbal tea, the experience was much less enjoyable than it is with a good decaf coffee. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, other than the jittery side effects I sometimes got with caffeine.

Brian and his wife Yolande are the creators of Banks Botanicals, a sophisticated no-alcohol spirit distilled and blended from native botanicals. Each night they enjoy a Banks and Soda with Yolande. The beautiful bottle and sense of ceremony that comes from mixing Banks with lemon and soda is an extremely pleasurable experience. I asked Brian whether he knew of any placebo studies where people thought they were drinking an alcoholic drink and he mentioned his father who tested Banks on his mates at the tennis club who all loved it. Not one person realised it was alcohol-free.

The Ahhh moment and placebo effect

For many people, the end of the working day when you finally wind down is the time to crack open a beer, bottle of wine, or mix a G and T. The Ahhh moment happens just before you drink it, a feeling of relaxation you experience even before that first sip.

A study published in 2020, called Alcohol and Placebo: The Role of Expectations and Social Influence, found that participants who consumed real alcohol and those who believed they were drinking alcohol, demonstrated similar mental and physical temporary state changes. In other words, that initial ahhhh moment and feeling we get when we drink one or two drinks kicks in when we believe we are drinking alcohol even when we’re not. Obviously, when you drink no-alcohol adult drinks, you know you’re not drinking alcohol but, if you recreate the environment, sense of occasion, and the ceremony that comes with pouring a drink, the experience can be the same.

Why go no or low alcohol?

I cover most of the reasons why to go no or low alcohol in this blog article but thought it worth revisiting as we approach Christmas and New Year when it’s easy to go from drinking twice a week to every night.

If you are trying to lose weight, alcohol can pile on the calories. It contains 7 calories per gram and interferes with the liver’s ability to break down and remove fats. A standard drink (100 ml wine) is equal to 10 g of pure alcohol (70 calories). Most alcohol-free drinks have lower calories compared to their alcoholic versions due to the lack of alcohol but do be careful when buying wine as some have high sugar content. Craft Zero is an online business that sells zero alcohol adult drinks. Wine drinkers can choose wisely as all the low-calorie bottles are tagged in their online store. They also sell a wide range of other no-alcohol sugar-free & low calories drinks.

What about the taste?

Let’s face it, there are plenty of alcoholic wines and drinks that don’t suit our palate. Globally non-alcoholic drinks sales are outgrowing any other in the drinks market and Australian brands have joined the race. We now have more choices than ever before and can be guided by product reviews from other consumers when we start.

Let’s go back to what’s the point

  • Better sleep
  • Reduced inflammation
  • No hangovers
  • Healthier organs, including skin, liver
  • Maintain an active lifestyle the following day
  • Religious reasons
  • Save money on cabs
  • Weight loss
  • Feel better

I’ve ordered my first 6 bottles and am excited to try them. I’ll let you know how I get on. Who’d like to join me?

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