BY ANDREW MCDONALD
PRIOR to the 2020s, choice was limited for people who chose not to drink alcohol when socialising. Normal everyday drinking options were plentiful enough. Tea, coffee in a wide variety of styles, tisanes, soft drinks, milk, juice or just good old plain water were enough for daily purposes. That changed completely when we were with friends or at a family event. Whilst a cola, lemonade or fizzy orange is nice, very few of us wanted, or had the stomach, to drink copious amounts of them in one sitting.
There was also the pressure element. If you were in a pub in Ireland and you were obviously drinking something which wasn’t alcoholic, people usually wanted to know why and tried to push you into going for a stronger beverage. Whilst this perhaps said more about their relationship with alcohol than yours, having to justify yourself repeatedly wasn’t conducive to a good time.
Some people choose never to drink. This can be for religious purposes, health reasons or just because it’s something they don’t want to do. Others do enjoy alcohol but opt to limit consumption, again as part of a healthier lifestyle or because they’re driving. Whatever your reasons, these are frequently personal and you shouldn’t feel you have to validate your choice.
In recent years, not drinking alcohol has become less of a problem. In fact it’s actually becoming fashionable. That’s because drinks companies have been investing big time in producing quality non-alcoholic beverages. There’s even a zero booze pub in Dublin.
There was a time when non-alcoholic drinks were vile. No longer. In fact, they’re actually of such high quality that they are a boom niche within the booze industry. Famous name, zero alcohol, beers, ciders, wines and spirits are available as are offerings from smaller producers. Big on flavour, they don’t get you messy, there’s no hangover and a breathalyser test isn’t going to turn out badly as a result of them.
Ireland’s signature brew, perhaps it’s most well-known product, has recently hit the shelves and some pubs around the country in non-alcoholic form. Guinness 0.0 tastes very similar to the real thing and seems to be getting a good reception.
Non-alcoholic drinks are much more appetising for a longer session than minerals and they’re much less likely to leave you with issues like indigestion. They’re a lot better for your health than booze and for those who don’t like the pressure that comes with not drinking, nobody need ever know that you’re not sipping on the real thing.
Of course, alcohol has it’s place and this is not likely to change soon, if ever. Why would it? Many people enjoy traditional beers, ciders, wines and spirits as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, whatever your reason for not drinking, whether temporarily or permanently, it’s good to know there are other options out there that are full on flavour and convivial to a fun evening.