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Dry January gains momentum in the Maritimes as more products come onboard


Starting 2024 off sober is gaining traction, it aligns with the dry January trend, where individuals abstain from alcohol after the holidays.

In the Maritimes, there is a plethora of non-alcoholic beer options which is helping fuel a rise of sober drink choices.

David Finlayson, founder of Resolution Revelry, a dry January party, says there's no shortage of non-alcoholic drinks options out there for the sober-curious.

“I'm certainly not here to say drink or don't drink, but there's a bunch of different options out there that probably taste just as good or as the alcoholic version," said Finlayson.

Resolution Revelry is a tasting event that will feature dozens of non-alcoholic beer, cider, wine, and cocktail options.

It's a fundraiser for the United Way said Finlayson, but it's also a great opportunity for someone who might be thinking about non-alcoholic drink alternatives.

"If you have any thoughts like, 'Hey I want to change my lifestyle a little bit, and maybe I want to try a little time away from alcoholic beverages,’ then I think this a great way to find out," said Finlayson.

Mitch Cobb is CEO of Libra Non-Alcoholic Craft Beer. He shifted away from alcohol for health reasons for a year or so, and that time came up with the idea of creating a line of non-alcoholic beer.

"Initially, it was about weight loss," said Cobb who’s also CEO of Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown.

While on his alcohol break, he soon noticed an improvement in both his physical and mental health.

"I recognized that my mental health was much better and so I continued on that track," said Cobb. "Today, I would say I moderate my alcohol consumption, I'll have a drink here and there."

In 2020 Cobb and his business partner and head brewer, Mike Hogan, launched Libra and since they've witnessed a surge in consumer demand for non-alcoholic options.

Cobbs says non-alcoholic beer was often targeted at people who struggled with alcohol but that's no longer the case.

"In the past, I think there was this line in the sand where either you drank or didn't drink and there was no middle ground," said Cobb. "But now people are finding ways to moderate their alcohol consumption in ways that work well for them and their lifestyle."

Dry January has even penetrated the music scene, with the East Coast Music Awards' wellness program "Sound Minds" launching the "Pledge to Pause," which is urging artists to go alcohol-free for the month.

Errin Williams is the clinical lead for Sound Minds and says there is growing interest in this initiative.

"There's been a lot of interest about it and about why we did this and what this means, and we were like 'this is just dry January,'" said Williams. "At the time, we didn't realize that maybe we were starting to scratch the surface of something that might be a bit bigger."

Resolution Revelry takes place on January 26 at the Halifax Historic Properties building, Finlayson said there tickets are remaining.

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