From birthdays to funerals, alcohol has always played a big role in American life. But the way Americans view alcohol has started to change, and the sober-curious movement is gaining momentum. The movement encourages people to live a hangover-free life by reducing or eliminating alcohol and focusing on their health and wellness.
“We don’t have to drink. There’s nothing that says, as an adult being, you have to consume alcohol, and yet, our society doesn’t really lead us to believe that. In fact, it’s very much the norm to drink,” says Ruby Warrington, author of the book, Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol.
Many believe that the sober-curious trend caught on because people are more focused than ever on their overall well-being. And data proves it — Americans are prioritizing mental health, eating less meat, and exercising more. Giving up alcohol seems like the next logical choice in becoming a healthier, more productive person. But choosing not to drink, especially in social situations, can be challenging. People like Sam Thonis are creating a solution.
Thonis opened Getaway, an alcohol-free bar in Brooklyn earlier this year. He was inspired by his brother, who got sober a couple of years ago and realized how challenging socializing can be for those in recovery. But Getaway is not the only sober bar around. More and more are popping up all over the country, from Listen Bar in New York City, NY to Sans Bar in Austin, TX. And sober bars are not the only options for those who choose to live alcohol-free. Events like Daybreaker, a morning dance party, are showing people that it is possible to have fun sober.
Being “sober-curious” may seem like just another trend that will soon lose steam, but major beverage brands have jumped on board, making the success of the sober-curious movement all the more likely. According to Bon Appétit, the alcohol industry is preparing for a more sober future, and estimates that bottled low- and no-alcohol beverage offerings will grow by more than 30 percent through 2022. Beverage giant Budweiser has said 20 percent of its global beer volumes will be low or non-alcoholic by 2025. Even Coca Cola is getting on board with its latest venture: Bar None, a line of non-alcoholic adult beverages.
In the past, most who chose to live a sober life had a history of alcohol abuse or had been impacted by it. But the sober-curious movement is encouraging everyone to take a closer look at their drinking habits and embrace a life sans alcohol. “People who don’t drink also want a hip environment,” says Sohang Gandhi, a sober 38-year-old engineer. The sober-curious movement aims to make sobriety more appealing by changing the idea that sober is boring.