Do you ever associate certain drinks with specific occasions? Think New Year’s Eve and sparkling wine, gin and tonics and weddings or high tea and...well, tea. Alcohol and tea, as bizarre as it may sound, are both associated with socialising (we know coffee has its place, but we’ll talk about that another time..)
There’s a common misconception that if you’re not drinking alcohol, you’re not having fun. Whoever thought to spread this rumour did a good job, but it’s definitely not the case and people are beginning to realise that.
There is a not-so-new trend that’s making its way into the mainstream and that is non-alcoholic drinks. What makes this news even better is the significant improvement in the availability, quality and variety of non-alcoholic beverages.
So how do these alcohol-free variations fit into our society? While it’s quite uncommon to attend a restaurant, pub, concert or gathering without seeing a bar with alcohol, for non-drinkers, it’s even harder to order something that’s not alcoholic or a soda.
However, new drinks are making it even easier for non-drinkers to blend in with their ‘surroundings’ and are super enjoyable too!
How about a brief history lesson on these two titans of tipple -
Did you know that the word for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol is a teetotaler - or should we say TEA-totaler. Okay, the origin of the word has nothing to do with tea itself, but let’s just call it a coincidence..
Archaeological evidence dates tea back to the Han Dynasty (207BCE-9CE) where it was predominately used for trading but also, ancient tribes would drink tea and herbal infusions for medicinal purposes - so, it’s always been a precious commodity.
What’s really magnificent about it is that different countries have their own culture and traditions surrounding tea. For instance, Japan has an entire ritual associated with tea that holds deep meaning. And Britain is considered one of the highest consumers of tea and it is deeply rooted in their identity (spot of tea, anyone?). In fact, tearooms were established in the 1830’s during what is known as the Temperance Movement, a form of social activism against alcohol at a time.
Booze has been around for centuries. People just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff.
Evidence of fermented beverages have been found as early as the Neolithic period, not to mention apes have been digesting fermented fruits since - forever (this is known as the drunken monkey hypothesis)
Just like tea, many countries have their own cultures and history with alcohol. Germany has a deep history with brewing beer, while Britain has a questionable and tragic past with gin (see Mother’s Ruin) which ultimately brought on the idea of prohibition (the banning of alcohol), and the Temperance Movement, a pledge against consuming alcohol.
Our desire to drink alcohol, especially during special occasions or celebrations dates back centuries - but that doesn’t mean that society should automatically exclude non-drinkers.
Sure, you won’t find a lot of people drinking a hot cup of tea at your local pub or you might feel a bit sheepish pulling your tea bags and kettle out of your Esky at your next barbecue - but the industry is gradually closing this gap.
Mindful drinking movements are making manufacturers and independent companies rethink their products. While alcohol brands are adding non-alcoholic or virgin drinks to their range, tea is making a sophisticated comeback with new variations, classy packaging and guilt-free enjoyment - suitable for all ages, of course!
Some folks might think that a social occasion without an alcoholic beverage in hand is unheard of but the reality is, non-alcoholic drinks are here to stay.
According to Forbes, the non-alcoholic industry has grown 506% since 2015 and that’s not just soft drinks or ice tea but also includes spirits brands bringing out a low or non-alc alternative.
But where does it come from?
In recent years and especially during the pandemic, a spotlight has been shone on wellness and mental health, with some people reducing their alcohol intake significantly and others stopping completely.
Whether it’s for addiction treatment or simply taking a break, it’s a tough thing to quit alcohol, especially when you don’t have decent replacements for social situations - because let’s face it, there’s only so many times you can answer the ‘so why aren’t you drinking?’ question before it starts to get annoying.
The Rise of Alcohol-Free
Research shows that the term Dry January alone saw 17% increase in news articles that mention it, 42% increase in mentions on Twitter and a whipping 39% increase in non-alcoholic beer sales.
Meaning, alcohol-free drinks have stepped it up and made it even easier to socialise without the ‘stigma or the constant question - ‘so why aren’t you drinking..?’
Sure, we’ve had sodas readily available for the longest time, but if you’re not big into sugar, caffeine (and whatever else goes inside those), what are your other options?
Cold brewed tea's, infused waters and alcohol-free spirits are revolutionising the way we socialise.
East Forged basically took the enthusiasm for beer and tea, put it together, added some nitro and developed a product that’s - well, delicious. Looks like a beer, tastes like a tea - who is going to give you grief for that? No one.Get EFd the best way. Order your East Forged Tea in time for your next social event.