Photo by Kaitlin Kolarik

With the holidays behind us and our bodies begging for a bit of a reprieve, 31 days of no alcohol sounds pretty refreshing. But then reality hits and you wonder how you’ll actually go an entire month without your favorite adult beverages. Good news for all; there are lots of nonalcoholic options available that will satisfy all of your adult beverage cravings. 

Over the last decade, in the United States and Europe, January has become the month devoted to cleansing – encouraging people to take a break from alcohol in the new year. A kickstart to a healthy and happy 365. Not only is alcohol consumption eliminated, but many also remove sugar and processed foods from their diet, participate in Whole 30, and even a new trend we’ve seen this year called the Daniel’s fast which is based on the biblical book of Daniel.

Whichever method is chosen, Dry January is here to stay. For some, it’s a big change in hopes of reaching even bigger results. According to Sean Goldsmith, co-founder of Zero Proof, Atlanta’s newest non-alcoholic beverage company “…roughly 49 million Americans participated in Dry January last year.” That number has increased in 2022 with nearly 1 in 5 adults abstaining from alcohol. For a company like Zero Proof, that’s a great boost in sales right at the beginning of the year!

Unlike the January-only sober bunch, Sean Goldsmith made the decision in 2018 to modify his lifestyle and stop drinking for an undetermined time and little did he know, this decision would change his whole life. Sean hasn’t had a drink since and is pretty sure he’s never going to again. He’s found clarity, energy, deep sleep, and productivity. Sean and his best friend turned business partner, Trevor Wolfe, who also doesn’t drink alcohol, soon realized that there was a huge void in the beverage industry for booze free drinks. They knew right away that they wanted to provide a solution not only for themselves, but for the other mindful drinkers and abstainers.

Across Atlanta, you can find a large selection of non-alc cocktail and retail wine options, including 3 Parks Wine which currently carries over 30 nonalcoholic beverages. There are so many options available that have the complexity of your favorite mixed drink or glass of wine, hangover not included. 

Kara Hidinger

We reached out to one of Sarah’s longtime friends and former work colleagues, Kara Hidinger, owner of Staplehouse Neighborhood Market, to discuss why she decided to take a month off of alcohol. Hidinger started the year off alcohol free to clear her mind and, well, her liver. “Let’s get honest, my alcohol consumption (like so many others) increased dramatically over the course of the pandemic. I needed to create a little time and space to let my body rest.” 

As wine retailers, we’ve heard this from many of our clients who share the same point of view. The pandemic was no joke, and a little break has never hurt anyone. Many might say, the biggest challenge is actually staying on track. Hidinger loves that she has accountability partners. “I am participating in a month free of alcohol with my mother in Indiana and my sister-in-law in LA. We check in regularly with one another via text & during our weekly Friday night family zoom calls. We started the family calls when the pandemic started and still routinely have them so we can stay connected. I absolutely love it,” she says. 

Hidinger’s been staying hydrated with her favorite non-alcs that are sold at Staplehouse: Kea Kombuchas (Atlanta made!), Casamara Club Sodas, Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling and Athletic Brewing Company Run Wild IPA. 

With lots of options available in Atlanta, try your hand at some of our favorites:

Acid League Proxies: You’ll never have a craving for a glass of wine if you have Proxies on hand at all times. Proxies are unlike many other non-alcoholic products in that it never started with an alcohol base. Proxies are a unique blend of juices, herbs, teas, bitters, and spices resulting in a complex, fruit forward, acidic beverage that resembles your favorite glass of wine. Be sure to try the Zephyr when you’re in the mood for a refreshing glass of “rosé” or the Velvet which might be the most complex of the 5 available in Atlanta giving you fruity mocha coffee vibes. Serve chilled in a wine glass and enjoy for up to 10 days after opening. Made in Canada.

Château del ISH Sparkling White: You never need a reason to pop a bottle of Champagne, and same goes for the days you’re not drinking alcohol. Château del ISH Sparkling White is a blend of Pinot Blanc & Silvaner grapes that has been dealcoholized to make a beautiful sparkling “wine” that satisfies all your needs when you just want a glass of bubbs. 

SpritzISH Canned Non-Alcoholic Cocktail: Bring on the booze-free cocktails! It may be winter, but it’s always Spritz season! SpritzISH may be one of our favorite canned cocktails, with or without alcohol. Be sure to try all of the ISH canned beverages. You’ll be in for a treat. ISH products available: SpritzISH, DaiquirISH, GinISH & Tonic. 

Weingut Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Sparkling Rosé: One of Atlanta’s favorite zero proof sparkling rosé. This sparkling wine is refreshing with red fruits and minerality. Also available in cans.   

Sarah Pierre owns 3 Parks Wine Shop in Atlanta and is a regular contributor to Atlanta Intown.

Katie Rice owns VinoTeca, a wine shop in Atlanta and is a regular contributor to Atlanta Intown.