June 28, 2021 – The pandemic was more than irritating, lonely and isolating. It ended up being a drinker’s dream, with Margarita Mondays and Wine Wednesdays becoming a regular event in addition to late night happy hours. In fact, almost one in four adults say they have managed a pandemic stress drinking more, according to an American Psychological Association investigation released in February.
“Alcohol consumption has particularly increased among people who do not consider themselves alcohol problem, ”says Joseph Volpicelli, MD, executive director of the Institute of Addiction Medicine in Plymouth Meeting, PA. “It crawled on people.
On the other end of the spectrum, COVID-19 has prompted many Americans to start taking steps to eliminate alcohol completely. If you are one of that group, science is definitely on your side, with recent studies increasingly showing that no amount of alcohol is healthy and that alcohol can be carcinogenic.
Health issues may be one of the main factors behind current sober-curious movements which include engaging in “dry periods” of several weeks or more, inspirational hashtags like #soberissexy, sober trainers online, “sober” bars and “craft” distilleries that make and sell fake plant-based alcohols.
In fact, as even Molson Coors enters the rapidly evolving soft drink market, the company has just made its debut. Huzzah, a seltzer powered by probiotics and “feel-good ingredients” – this is yet another indication that big brands are embarking on this societal shift.
Shelley Elkovich, founder of For bitter for the worse, a Portland, OR-based botanical alcohol-free cocktail company that was launched 6 weeks before the pandemic, quickly got off the ground as customers searched for sophisticated cocktail alternatives as many began to feel their drinking was getting out of hand .
Elkovich can understand, because she says she was once an enthusiastic drinker.
“I was what experts call a gray zone drinker,” she says. After being diagnosed with a rare neurological syndrome after a boat trip, she broke up with alcohol.
For Elkovich, this led to a radical life change.
“I now see abstention from alcohol and sobriety-curiosity as a social movement,” she says. “I like that we push back on messages that are correct and those that are not.”