There are 7 things only non-alcoholic drinkers understand about non-alcoholic drinks
If you are cutting back on alcohol and your choice is non-alcoholic drinks, you may need to go back to school for a few years. As a non-alcoholic drinker, it is another world.
Or at least get a crash course in alcohol-free etiquette and how to survive it.
You are judged for not drinking as a non-alcoholic drinker
Crazy, I know!
I see it all the time from some of my colleagues who champion alcohol-free choices on Twitter. But if you drink non-alcoholic drinks, be prepared for a whole new way of living.
One person who I respect was asked the other day again. Alcohol-free beer, what’s the point? I mean, what is the fascination?
Whenever I ask for an alcohol-free drink, people look at me in horror. Have you had a similar experience?
If so, and you are determined to make an alcohol-free choice, you need to grow thick skin.
But trust me, it’s worth all the crap you get along the way.
Even though I was just a social drinker, I don’t think bar staff or friends ever judged me for drinking another glass of wine or two at a railway station waiting for a train.
It was encouraging.
And I don’t mean in a good way.
Go on, mate, have a large glass and get the rest of the bottle free! You can take it on the train with you, wanna plastic glass?
The plastic glass was their final bet to ensure that I did not turn down the offer of the alcohol-based sauvignon blanc.
Now I don’t know about you, but if I went to a bar and asked for seven bottles of wine to shave down my neck, I would get less of a horror reaction than asking for a Heineken Zero.
Fancy an alcohol-free gin?
Well, the other week, someone tried to pour it like cola. I love Seedlip alcohol-free spirit, but I did remind the person serving that it was meant to be served as a spirit.
That look or incredible shock came over their face as in some bars; it is confusing.
So please do go alcohol-free but be prepared for some flack.
Be prepared to be called an alcoholic even though you could drink a copious amount of wine and the word never passed anyone’s lips.
The week I started the first series of the alcohol-free drinks podcast, three Facebook friends dropped me.
I only know because they came up as people I might know. Don’t you love the Facebook algorithm?
You might have a few friends who judge you for being alcohol-free.
Non-Alcoholic drinkers know the power of choice about non-alcoholic drinks
I mean, you have to acknowledge it because there is not that much choice.
If you want to be flirted with and courted over your alcohol-free lifestyle by restaurant and bar owners, think again, it’s not going to happen.
It will be a long slog.
You end up being the educator.
And I mean, they could make more money and more profit from alcohol-free drinks, but alas, many seem to be blinded by the opportunity.
Here is where you come in.
You can be an ambassador of alcohol-free options. And when I have done this, I have seen alcohol drinkers try out the choice as well.
It seems that when we have no choice, we become more passionate about it.
You will find this with non-alcoholic drink options.
And if you find yourself saying what about me?
Someone has to do it.
And it’s not even a choice about having alcohol which most people wrongly presume. It is about the choice regarding non-alcoholic drink options.
It would be best to have some critical phrases up your sleeve when it comes to being a non-alcoholic drinker, but you feel like saying **** off.
Have you ever watched a brilliant comedian being heckled on stage and thought, wow, that is impressive?
Now you may admire that kind of skill, but you might want to go back and study some of them some more.
You will need to be quick as the anti-alcohol free drink brigade is increasing.
Even in the world of therapy, the more accessible line is to tell you to sit in the corner and drink fizzy water. Now I get that for some people having an alcohol-free drink could be an issue.
And I get it. If that is you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with support.
But if you are like me, you don’t want to be told what to do.
After all, you have just given up alcohol and not joined some crazy cult.
Get more extreme in your answer about why you drink alcohol-free.
Most people will presume you to be either very religious (that is fine if you are) or a previous problem drinker, so you have nothing to lose.
You might want to tell people you are highly religious even if you are not. It works every time unless they are anti that as well.
Just say you are Buddhist they never understand that one.
Maybe for health reasons you don’t drink alcohol.
And if that is the reason, say it. Never hide it as it could be helping others.
Of course, it could kill me, but people might still chance their arm and say, “one won’t kill you”.
So reply with “yes, it could actually”.
But you might be pregnant or driving. I mean, the reasons are numerous.
Learn some quick come back answers, and you will feel empowered forever in your alcohol-free drinking life.
And yes, someday, you will feel like telling people to take a run and jump.
After all, you’re human right.
If you get stuck, tell them there is a trace of alcohol in the food you eat.
I’m not kidding.
It is not alcohol-free to say it is alcohol-free. So are they non-alcoholic drinks or not?
Except when it is, of course.
However, this is another one that only alcohol-free drinkers understand.
Many alcohol-free drinks have a trace of alcohol. So it is a bit like going wheat-free only to discover that the supermarket ham has plenty of wheat in it.
If you are an alcohol-free drinker, you have to learn a new language. But is it alcohol-free and not?
Luckily alcohol-free drinks are some of the best-labelled products out there.
Plus, there is a website called drinkaware, which is helpful and tells you in detail what is and what isn’t alcohol-free.
But you will need to learn something called ABV. This is alcohol by volume and tells you how much alcohol is in your drink.
How many alcohol drinkers will tell you they have to look at this all the time to gauge the strength of the alcohol.
I have to say it is something I don’t see happen in a pub very often.
Here is what drinkaware says, which is very helpful.
Alcohol-free beer is no more than 0.05% ABV
De-alcoholised beer is no more than 0.5% ABV
Low-alcohol beer is no more than 1.2% ABV
Alcoholic beer contains more than 1.2% ABV.
Luckily there could be more alcohol in your orange juice bread roll and vinegar on your fires.
But it’s worth knowing, even if it’s a trace.
Luckily many breweries and wineries are working hard to develop a new method that means no alcohol is present.
Bavaria leads the way but so do many other beers like Free Star.
It’s a new language. So it’s no wonder that you have to learn it.
Gin is not gin without any alcohol. So is gin a non-alcoholic drink?
Branding for an alcohol-free drinker is more complicated than your jeans size.
I mean, even gin is not gin.
I often get picked up by something called Seedlip or Gordon Alcohol-Free Gin by the replacement name.
It is as simple as gin has to be over 40 per cent abv or alcohol by volume in my country. In some countries, it might be less but over 37 per cent.
So if you go to your bar and ask for alcohol-free gin, you might get a short shift because you are asking for alcohol-free gin, and also, it is technically a spirit.
Oh, wait. No, you can’t say that either.
Technically a spirit has to have a high level of alcohol as well.
I mean, I get licencing laws, but all you want is an alcohol-free alternative.
Plus, the different sayings mean different things in other countries.
It is like learning a new language.
You might have to resort to two questions.
Does it taste nice?
Is it alcohol-free?
So whatever your choice of non-alcoholic drinks is, be brave.
Quite frankly, you have no other choice but alcohol-free drinking can be done.
Alcohol-free drinkers know this.
As you venture out into the world of alcohol-free, there is a lot to celebrate. You have a wealth of non-alcoholic drinkers behind you.
Learn that you do live in a parallel universe, and you will be fine.
The good news is that the stats for people going alcohol-free or cutting back are growing every year.
The growth is a choice, albeit slow, but it is proof that attitudes are changing.
Plus, the big-name brands are behind you as well. After all, they are out to make a profit, and I, for one, am pleased about that.
So if you are looking at more non-alcoholic drinks, you don’t need to feel like a freak; take the plunge. As a non-alcoholic drinker, we got this!