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Sober Bars: Creating a buzz sans the booze

Sober bars are alcohol-free bars that make beverages using sparkling drinks and juices. The COVID 19 pandemic is a major reason behind this shift towards non-alcoholic drinks.

Alcohol-free bars – sounds like an oxymoron, isn’t it? But the trend of these ‘Sober Bars’ is increasingly gaining popularity across the globe. These bars offer drinks made of sparkling sodas and juices, but most importantly they are all made without the use of alcohol.

This fad of sober bars isn’t a new phenomenon. According to a report by the Associated Press, these non-alcoholic bars first appeared in the 19th century as part of the temperance movement. The movement aimed to limit or outlaw the consumption and production of alcoholic beverages. And while that revolution targeted the non-drinkers or people in rehabilitation, the new trend welcomes the sober as well as the curious.

International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) reported that in the year 2020, alcohol consumption fell by 5% in 10 key markets including the USA, Germany, Japan and Brazil. And during this same year, consumption of non-alcoholic beverages increased by 1%. While the numbers suggest that the demand for alcoholic drinks still outweighs the non-alcoholic ones. As per IWSR, the global consumption of low and no-alcohol beer, wine and spirits is growing two to three times faster than overall alcohol consumption.

Also watch: No amount of alcohol is ‘safe’ for consumption, finds Oxford study

So what led to this sudden shift?

The COVID-19 pandemic of course!

The pandemic has warp-sped the change in people’s drinking habits. Being locked up indoors has caused people to rethink their lifestyle, which entailed regular alcohol consumption, and switch to healthier alternatives. Even in India, companies like Bengal Bay, Jade Forest and Kati Patang which produce non-alcoholic drinks are becoming more and more popular.

Also watch: Think before you drink: 62k cancer cases in India linked to alcohol consumption

So, while the industry producing non-alcoholic drinks is still very small compared to the alcohol industry, the increase in the former's consumption may change the notion of 'drinking habits' entirely in the future. And if the alcohol redemption is real, it is here to stay for long.

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