Non-alcoholic alternatives are taking over shelves across Australia and we’re explaining why.
Whether you’re looking to explore the sober-curious movement, craving a healthier lifestyle change, or just intrigued by the prospect of non-alcoholic beverages, the societal decline in alcohol consumption has resulted in some amazing alcohol-free alternatives entering the market.
Traditionally, alcohol-free beverages have rarely been associated with synonyms like classy and sophisticated, but recent adaptations in the way we are approaching the creation of alcohol alternatives have seen this change.
At Edenvale, we pride ourselves on being industry leaders in the alcohol-free wine space and are proud to play a part in the rise of the sober-curious movement. There are countless reasons as to why alcohol-free beverages should play a role in our lives, and today we are going to share our top reasons 10 why it is worth giving alcohol-removed products a try.
The Sober-Curious Movement is on the Rise
It appears Australia's love affair with alcohol is on the decline. With more young people choosing to decrease their alcohol intake, give up the booze or opt for an alternative non-alcoholic beverage. Research from La Trobe University found that over 120,000 Australians claimed to have reduced how often they consume alcohol. At the same time, 6% said they had kicked the habit for good. Those aged 24 - 29 have reduced their alcohol intake because of work, studies, family and health benefits.
As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, this behavioural change is not limited to a single generation. Baby Boomers, Millennials and Gen Z are all making changes to their drinking habits, and sales for non-alcoholic alternatives have doubled as a result! So much so that Drinks Trade recently reported sales of non-alcoholic beer, wine, cider, and spirits have increased by over 100 per cent in the last 12 months, with these beverages quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing categories in supermarkets and bottle shops. Peak sales times include Christmas, the Australia Day weekend and Easter, and bottle shops across the country have been consistently increasing the number of non-alcoholic products they have on offer to meet growing demand. Leading Australian bottle shop chain Dan Murphy’s now stock over 100 non-alcoholic products, including many local Australian products, for their sober curious customers.
So, we know that more people are moving towards drinking non-alcoholic alternatives, but now let’s look at the why.
There are Multiple Health Benefits of Reducing Alcohol Intake
What happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol? As explored by Very Well Mind, there are various physiological results when one stops drinking. Reported health improvements include healthier skin, a lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of cancer, weight loss, better memory and thinking, improved sleep and a decrease in mental health issues.
Impact on Skin Health
According to research conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology Association, alcohol has a notable impact on skin health. The study found a strong correlation between alcohol consumption and the risks of rosacea, particularly in female skin. Furthermore, alcohol was found to weaken the immune system, which widens blood vessels contributing to redness in the skin. Additionally, GQ conducted research in conjunction with dermatologist Dr Amy Spizuoco, in which Spizuoco reiterated that our body's metabolization of alcohol releases a toxic by-product that dehydrates body tissues and skin. This causes premature aging of the skin, as well as inflammation of bodily tissue, and dilation of pores, leading to imperfections. Taking all of these effects into account, it is evident that drinking less alcohol leads to greater hydration and therefore, healthier skin. As discussed in EatingWell, given that alcohol is a diuretic, it causes antidiuretic hormones (ADH) levels to drop, resulting in less water retention. Thus, when you stop drinking, ADH levels will increase, leading to more efficient rehydration and increasing the skin’s ability to heal itself.
Impact on Sugar/Nutritional Intake
While health benefits are personal and case-dependent, there are some overall general health benefits that come with abstaining from alcohol. As reported in Healthline, alcohol consumption has an impact on liver health, and the generation of toxins and metabolising fats by the liver. As the liver is tasked with breaking down any alcohol consumed, excess alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on the efficiency of the liver at breaking down toxins in the body. Within weeks of going dry, individuals can expect to have better overall liver health and efficiency at breaking down bodily toxins and metabolising fats, as the liver is not also needing to break down the alcohol in our systems.
Furthermore, the metabolization of alcohol from the liver and enzymes can be interfered with as alcohol is consumed in excess. This can lead to the oxidation of bad cholesterol and increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. However, drinking in moderation or not at all will instead increase good cholesterol. This will in turn positively impact cardiovascular health, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Another significant health factor is the high caloric count of alcoholic drinks. Published by Nine Coach, alcohol itself contains 27 kilojoules per gram (almost seven calories). These calories are absorbed in the liver, well before the nutrients from the food we consume are processed. Depending on an individual’s baseline, this caloric addition can detract from nutrients delivered from foods that we as humans are consuming and lead to poorer health and weight gain. To put this into perspective, Edenvale’s alcohol-removed Blanc de Blanc contains 120 kilojoules per 100ml, 5g carbohydrates and 7g sugar, whereas an alcoholic sparkling white such as Yellowglen Yellow contains 276 kilojoules per 100ml. Alcohol removal results in a reduction in calories, with the removal of 13% alcohol translating to more than 60% calorie reduction.
Alcohol Impairs Sleep
While it has often been thought that alcohol promotes sleep, lulling you into a peaceful rest, research signals otherwise. Alcohol can negatively impact the central nervous system and reduce the amount of REM sleep one experiences, which impairs the overall quality of sleep. Additionally, research has found a correlation between drinking alcohol and developing sleep disorders. Bringing this into consideration makes it evident that decreasing the amount of alcohol consumed, or all together, will improve the amount and quality of sleep people have. Or, even better, you can still join in on the fun, have a glass of non-alcoholic wine, but get great sleep!
Benefits to Mental Health
Since alcohol is a depressant, slowing down the central nervous system and decreasing arousal and stimulation in the brain, it has a negative impact on physiological and mental health. As pinpointed by Drug-Rehab.com, heavy drinkers place themselves at a higher risk for anxiety disorders and depression, given the prolonged exposure to depressant substances. Sobriety can help an individual’s mental health dramatically, by as previously mentioned, pre-empting longer and deeper sleep, anxiety relief, stabilising mood and depression relief. Abstaining from alcohol also helps to generate focus, problem solving, critical thinking and memory. Overall, this can positively benefit mental health and is a major reason why many begin consuming alcohol-removed alternatives.
Perfect for Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is no worse feeling than not being able to join in with your friends and family, partaking in something you usually enjoy. It is a well-known fact that the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, or over-consumption of alcohol during breastfeeding, can have a negative impact on a baby's growth and impair the development of their cognitive channels. Well, thanks to non-alcoholic drinks, parents-to-be and breastfeeding mums can still enjoy the party and celebrate with a classy non-alcoholic beverage; and not have to worry about the effects of alcohol on growing minds.
The health benefits are not the only reason to consider non-alcoholic alternatives, there are also many societal and cultural reasons to limit alcohol consumption, or consider having alcohol-removed drinks on hand to offer guests or loved ones who may be looking to reduce their alcohol intake.
Non-Alcoholic Alternatives Increase feelings of Social Inclusion
Drinking culture is extremely prevalent in society, and it can isolate people who don’t want to partake in it for cultural, religious, personal or health reasons. A research project undertaken by the National Centre on Education and Training in Addiction, found that ‘young people would prefer to face the negative consequences of being drunk than the social exclusion associated with staying sober’. People don’t want to be isolated by sobriety, and thus social inclusion is a massive factor as to why people consume alcohol. Sophisticated non-alcoholic alternatives offer a way to feel included socially, but not fall victim to the pressures of alcohol consumption.
The time spent worrying about the ramifications and after-effects of alcohol consumption; waking up hungover or the anxiety of driving home after a night out with friends, is now solved, free from worry and ‘fomo’. The best part - this solution tastes just as good, if not better, than alcohol itself.
Entrepreneurs are Taking the Sober-Curious Movement to the Next Level
Alcohol-removed wines are becoming more on-trend in Australia, with the market growing each year. Not only is Melbourne home to the best cafe culture and bars, it is also the home to the country’s first non-alcoholic bar. Located in Brunswick, Brunswick Aces Distillery’s CEO Stephen Lawrence identified the trend towards alcohol-free beverages and sought to normalise it by being the first venue not just to cater to but prioritise non-drinkers.
Australian entrepreneur Irene Falcone is the founder of Sans Drinks; and after just a year of building her hugely successful online non-alcoholic beverage business, she launched the first non-alcoholic bottle shop in Australia. The bright labels on the non-alcoholic wine, beer and spirits fill the shelves in her store in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Irene chose this location, which is directly across from a major liquor store, to make a point that this major trend is and will be on the rise, intending to shake up the alcohol industry.
Edenvale Beverages emerged in 2006 as Australia’s leading alcohol-removed wine brand. Founded by Michael Bright, the business was developed with the belief that people should have equal access to premium alcohol-removed wines that don’t lack the qualities of their alcoholic counterpart. We offer wines that offer the same variety, taste, aroma and complexity of traditional wines; providing a healthier, sophisticated alternative so consumers can still join in on the fun but reap the alcohol-free rewards.
Overall, there are many reasons to consider including alcohol-free beverages in your lifestyle. The exponential growth of the non-alcoholic market in recent years is demonstrative of the growing consumer understanding that there are other options out there, and the benefits of considering these options. It comes down to the growing demand for a healthier lifestyle, wanting to feel included religiously, culturally and socially without giving up the familiarity of drinking altogether. You can expect to see more people, friends and family drinking less or going cold turkey altogether, as well as more alcohol-free beverages, bars and a broader range emerging in bottle shops, and we are all for it.