Alcohol, without the pesky … alcohol

My roommate’s lack of response until I shouted his name for a third time led me to believe he had probably knocked himself out hitting his head on the wall of our dorm room.

It was the wee small hours of a Utica morning, and my large roommate, our larger friend and I had just returned from the bar. They had already dealt with a pis … I mean … pressing matter in the parking lot (fortunately both facing away from my car), and I was really hoping they’d both collapse in our friend’s room long enough for me to go to bed.

No such luck.

When he eventually regained both consciousness and lucidity, my roommate had no memory of what had happened, but I gleefully clued him in.

For I had been stone sober the whole time.

“(Soylent CEO Jen) Batchelor says Kin is trying to create more options for consumers. A lot of people feel their choices are to either go out and drink alcohol, or stay home alone. “If those are the two choices, then something is broken,” she said. ‘You can do the ‘feel good’ thing and still be out at a bar, still take a client out.'”

— “People are sick of drinking. Investors are betting on the ‘sober curious,'” Sara Ashley O’Brien, CNN Business

There’s no great moral crusade behind why I don’t drink, and I don’t judge people who do.

I find the taste of alcohol unappealing, used to drive myself everywhere I went and, as I like to say, have enough trouble when I’m in control of myself.

Yes, people in college thought I was strange, but they liked having a designated driver easily available, and I got a lot of free sodas. (I didn’t turn 21 until after my junior year, but lots of bars had college nights where “only students over 21” could drink … plus it was college. Booze isn’t all that hard to find.)

But creating drinks for the “sober curious” — apparently they’re called “shrubs” and are made from vinegar, fruit, sugar and club soda — and opening “sober bars” for “people who want to socialize in a bar-like location, but without having to drink alcohol”?

From my vast experience, if you’re “curious” about socializing in a “bar-like location” without drinking alcohol, it’s a fairly simple, two-step process:

1. Go to bar. They don’t ask ahead of time if you’re going to drink.

2. Drink something non-alcoholic. May I interest you in substances known as “soda” and “water”? If it’s really fancy, they may even have “juice.”

But there’s no money in that. Soda and water are cheap. So is juice.


I would have loved to see that pitch meeting — “People are drinking less alcohol. What do we do?”

“I have an idea. How about we throw some stuff in a blender until we create something that looks and probably tastes like alcohol, but, you know, without the alcohol?”


If anyone tries to tell you capitalism is dead, tell them about this.

I realized after writing this that, while if you choose not to drink, it is possible to just not drink, it might have been dismissive of people with drinking problems. That wasn’t my intention, as it was more about people trying to turn a choice not to drink into a business.

For people with alcohol problems, I hope you get whatever support you need and wish you all the best in fighting to stay sober.

3 thoughts on “Alcohol, without the pesky … alcohol

  1. Pingback: The week gone by — Jan. 31 – A Silly Place

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