advocating for change in Australia's huge drinking culture
Sometimes choosing to be alcohol-free feels like pushing shit up a hill. I’m a (very) social person and venues having little or no consideration for the dry punter (driver, pregnant lady, on antibiotics, sober, sober curious, on a health kick...the list goes on) is at times disheartening and frustrating.
And sometimes it’s exhilarating.
When a hospitality venue GETS IT. When they see the groundswell, see a customer base who is being ignored and are proactively looking to cater for all of their guests it makes all the difference. But for the time being it seems these venues are few and far between.
According to the National Alcohol & Drug Database, 23% of Australians live life without alcohol. How often do you look at a bar menu, wine list and see a quarter of the offering alcohol free? Never. Alcohol is a dominant force in the social makeup of Australian culture and it always has been. But the low or no alcohol space is exploding, the range of quality drinks being produced here and overseas is mind blowing (this little reviewer struggles to keep up!) yet hospitality for the most part hasn’t caught on.
(shop our range of Lyre's alcohol-free spirits here)
This is where things become a little chicken-or-the-egg. This is where we, the consumer need to be the squeaky wheel and ask for change. Part of this is self-education, knowing what your options are. 6 years ago when I was pregnant, the only non-alc I knew about was the terrible wine in the cordial isle at the supermarket. I took it as a given that pregnant ladies just had to suffer through pints of soda water when visiting the pub.
Its only since going sober in June last year and getting all the FOMO about having nice ADULT drinks that I have taken the deep dive into getting to know more about what amazing products are out there. And now I know…I feel more empowered to put it to hospitality venues.
Now, before I go out for dinner I am doing my research. Looking at the drinks list online, or contacting the restaurant well before hand to enquire about their AF options. Case in point, researching for an upcoming visit to Melbourne, 77 drinks on the beverage list…TWO of which are juicy mocktails (no thanks). How’s that for inclusive? If the situation is looking dire I ask if I can BYO alcohol-free wine, happy to pay corkage. So far this has about a 50% success rate. A yes is such a great feeling, and having a nice bottle of alcohol-free champagne with a meal out can’t really be matched (especially not with a juice mocktail recipe). Sometimes a no has invited a conversation about what alcohol-free wines they could look at stocking and an acknowledgement that the AF offering is definitely something they need to work on, which feels like a win, even if it is a long play.
If you have had enough of post mix coke and lemon lime and bitters I encourage you to be brave, ask the question. You never know your luck. Together we can advocate for change.
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