Back in the day, when you wanted to get in with the cool crowd, it seemed as though tequila shots were the only way forward. The harder the liquor, the more hardcore you were. Beer was mandatory for sunny days or watching sport. Cocktails were thought of as “girly” (ignoring the fact that the alcohol content of a cosmo is quadruple that of a beer) and a girls’ night out would not have been complete without multiple tipples.

But a new trend is emerging – one that makes it pretty cool to not drink. Now, you might hear the coolest kid at the party say, “No, thanks. I don’t drink.”

What does it mean to be sober curious?

“Sober curious” refers to people who don’t drink alcohol or those who drink very occasionally. The term was coined by Ruby Warrington, an author who wrote a book by the same name. While “sober” is often used to describe a person who struggles or has struggled with alcohol addiction, this is not the case for sober-curious individuals; these are people who wish to abstain from alcohol so as to see the positive effects that sobriety can have on their lives.

Anyone who has ever had a little too much to drink knows the negative effects that alcohol can have on one’s mind and body. Our society is certainly becoming more health conscious, with the #wellness industry worth a whopping US$4.2 trillion, and we can no longer deny the irony of a fit, clean-eating binge drinker.

RELATED: Reviewing non-alcoholic beers and spirits

I’m not a binge drinker… or am I?

The definition of a binge drinker may surprise you. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) in the USA defines binge-drinking as a pattern that occurs at around four or five drinks in the space of two hours (let us remind you that the average free-flow brunch sesh is around two hours). Now, we do not wish to lecture you on the dangers of alcoholism nor do we wish to convince you to completely give up drinking (while some of the Foodie team is sober curious, most of us enjoy the odd glass of bubbly), but if you are sick and tired of the negative effects of alcohol, if you no longer wish to be pressured into hazy nights and hungover mornings – we have good news, sober-curious friends. The times, they are a-changin’!

Just how trendy is the sober-curious movement?

Glad you asked! Huge companies like Heineken and PBR have begun creating low- to zero-ABV beers. CNN Business recently reported that alcoholic beverage sales are declining, and tech investors are betting on the rise of the sober-curious movement.

The hashtag #soberissexy currently has about 480K posts on Instagram, while #sobercurious has around 23K. There are also a few sober influencers – check out @jennifergimenez and @africabrooke. A 2018 study found that although millennials are still the most at-risk group for binge-drinking, binge-drinking rates among millennials have decreased from 27 per cent to 18 per cent.

Quinary Hong Kong’s spirit-free Earl Grey caviar martini

Quinary’s alcohol-free Earl Grey caviar martini

What to drink when you’re not drinking

This is actually the slogan for Seedlip, a non-alcoholic spirit that tastes very much like gin. Seedlip first launched in Hong Kong at 2018’s Taste of Hong Kong festival and can now be found at HK bars like Potato Head and The Pawn, and you can also buy it at selected liquor stores around town.

Sober bars are becoming rather popular in the USA, and although we don’t have these here in Hong Kong (yet), there are many bars offering some pretty impressive low- and no-alcohol cocktail creations.

Dragonfly Hong Kong’s low-ABV The Responsible Choice

Dragonfly’s low-ABV The Responsible Choice

NamasTaste: the new age of conscious consumers

At the Food’s Future Summit 2019, we’ll be diving head first into key F&B-related topics and trends including – you guessed it – sober curiosity. We’ll also be discussing this, flexitarianism and other elements of wellness with key figures and leaders in the age of conscious consumption.

Our NamasTaste panel will take place on Day 2, but there are many more discussions that will help you to make healthier and more informed choices as we move towards a better food’s future. Join us and be a part of the conversation.

Buy tickets for the Food’s Future Summit (group tickets available)

If you or someone you love suffers from alcohol addiction, you are not alone. Phone 9073 6922 or visit Alcoholics Anonymous for help

Our goal is to inspire and initiate change within the world of food.

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