Maritime Brewers and Winemakers Go Dry January Trend with Alcohol-Free Options

With the end of 2021, some residents of the Maritimes expect another “dry” year, where people cut alcohol for the month of January.

It’s a growing trend that some local brewers and wine growers are trying to follow.

“I believe there is definitely a place for an extraordinary sensory experience without alcohol,” said Jean-Benoit Delaurier, head winemaker at Benjamin Bridge – a vineyard in Wolfville, NS.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have turned to non-alcoholic alternatives, and beverage makers in the Maritimes are ready for this market.

Upstreet Craft Breweryis lying in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island has its own line of alcohol-free craft beers called Libra.

“People are looking to consume less alcohol, whether through beers that are low in ABV or non-alcoholic options, and they are looking to incorporate alcohol-free options into their lives,” said Mitch Cobb, owner of Upstreet Craft Brewing. “It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to stop drinking. It just means that they are looking for other options ”

Cobb says their brand Libra aims to break down the social stigma associated with not drinking.

“And still meeting friends and going out to dinner and they don’t have to stay home and not drink. They can go out and socialize,” Cobb said.

Even some restaurants follow the trend, like Rustico., a restaurant in downtown Fredericton.

“So we actually have a variety of mock tails on our menu. Our most popular cocktail, the tequila mocker, is now the “tequila mocker,” said Stephanie Bartlett, CEO of RustiCo. “We’re really creative here with infused syrups and the use of juices. It feels like we’re having a cocktail which is sort of our goal.”

Bartlett says her restaurant is fully prepared for those who choose to participate in Dry January.

“I think it’s important to have that option because you still want to have fun with your friends and you still want to go out and socialize, and that gives you an opportunity,” Bartlett said. “If you have a variety of things that they’ll want to drink, that makes them a bit more comfortable while they’re out.”

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Rhonda Lee

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