While non-alcoholic beers and wines have been available for a good while, they’ve often fallen short in the flavour department. But now, thanks to a new generation of local non-alcoholic brewers and distillers, Australians can enjoy a range of delicious tipples – with fewer carbs, fewer calories and, of course, no alcohol.
Heaps Normal’s Quiet XPA hit shelves in 2020 and is already making waves – because it actually tastes like beer. Founded by a bunch of mates and a pro-surfer who have worked in the beer industry (and grown up around alcohol abuse), their mission is to normalise the idea of ‘mindful drinking’.
Aboriginal owned and operated Sobah launched their range of pilsner, IPA, lager and stout (as well as a gluten free beer) in 2017. Their beers incorporate Indigenous ingredients like finger lime, mountain pepperberry and Davidson plum to create unique and refreshing tipples. Founders Clinton and Lozen Schultz are hoping to spark conversations around just why Australians drink, and to break down the stigma attached to socialising while sober.
The sober curious movement extends beyond beer, too. Zero-alcohol wines and spirits are also appearing in bottle shops and restaurants, helping to bridge that divide between the drinkers and non-drinkers. And local distillers, such as Melbourne-based Brunswick Aces, are using the same distillation process and botanical profiles to make alcohol-free spirits.
“All these different varieties of alcohol-free options provides the opportunity to have a drink that, in Australia, is almost a cultural tradition – without the alcohol,” Marika says.