We at DC Beer enjoy all ales and boozy events, and do our best to promote and spread the word so others can as well. It is also important for us to support those who do not drink, regardless of whether they never have or at one point did and discontinued for whatever reason.
The Mindful Drinking Festival, hosted at H Street’s Craft Beer Cellar on November 5th, was created by mixologist and themed bar creator extraordinaire Derek Brown to “celebrate the explosion of non-alcoholic adult beverages and mindful drinking.” Though I do not foresee my love for beer or gin waning anytime soon, I appreciate and applaud this movement for many reasons. From the onset of the pandemic many of us began consuming more to either fill a void, pass the time, or whatever reason we had to justify the increased intake of booze. A lot of us just drank more. Bars and restaurants were trying to survive and began offering cocktails to go. It was an exciting time, but also made alcohol more accessible than it had previously been, which probably wasn’t the healthiest option for a lot of folks. As we enter our third autumn living in a global pandemic, let’s consider our relationship with alcohol. Our livers and bodies in general tend to take an end of year beating, from the start of all the Oktoberfests and fall drinking festivals, to holiday parties with spiked punches, and the drinks that help us “get through” family gatherings. The new non-boozy boom in the spirits market is a breath of fresh air and should be greeted with an enthusiastic applause.
For those of us who consume adult beverages, it is great to occasionally have the option to imbibe without the side effects. But this goes so much further than we might think. As someone who has very dear friends who once drank to excess, but who are now sober, I always ask if my imbibing in their presence would be offensive. They often say no, but the smell or sight of it could be a trigger to them. We should make more of an effort to be better friends and mindful of other people.
When your best friend, sister-in-law, or co-worker is pregnant, they often get left out of drinking activities. We, the drinking community, tend to exclude (most oftentimes by accident) those who do not and cannot drink. Some of our local brewery owners have quit drinking and still go about making beer for the community. When we are sick or on antibiotics, we aren’t supposed to drink, but sometimes just a drop of beer tastes so good, even with a lack of taste buds. I personally enjoy hop infused canned tea from a well known brand when I don’t feel like drinking. You should be able to have a proper substitute for alcohol, and this event/new movement is a stellar way to go about that.
Derek Brown is an innovator in the field of mixology and booze infused experiences, so I know this will be a successful endeavor and I look forward to seeing how his new company, Positive Damage Inc., grows. From 2-6pm on November 5th, unlimited tastings of more than 20 non-alcoholic beverages from vendors including Athletic, Binge Bar, Boulevard, Crunchy Hydration, Delmosa Beverages, Guinness, Lagunitas, Mocktail Club, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Southern Grist and Untitled Art will be available. On top of the stellar list of participating beverage companies, Derek Brown will discuss his new book “Mindful Mixology: A Comprehensive Guide to No- and Low-Alcohol Cocktails,” as well as hold hourly demonstrations on how to perfect mocktail”, so that you can be the host with the most at your next shindig.
“When Craft Beer Cellar DC opened 6 years ago, we had 4 non-alcoholic options, all beers,” notes owner Erika Goedrich. ”About 3 years ago, a few more options became available, still all beer and one hop-infused sparkling water. In the last year, we’ve added more beer, plus mocktails, wine and spirits with over 25 options available to our guests, and that’s just a small portion of what’s available out there. We’ve also seen more people exploring non-alcoholic beverages, for a variety of reasons. We thought a festival would be a fun way to bring the two together, and allow our guests to try various products, put them in direct contact with experts, and educate them on mindful drinking.”
Working at a local distillery for six years and now in the beer industry, I am constantly (happily and safely) surrounded by booze, and I am damn proud to quickly offer a non-alcoholic cocktail when I have company. People are always thankful for putting forth the effort and including them in social drinking. It is a useful skill to have, even if you just learn and perfect one! You never know when you’ll have a guest, partner or friend who doesn’t drink, so be ready. Perhaps you’ll be the next to lead the way in the movement toward inclusive social drinking.
For more details on this event, check out the Craft Beer Cellar’s website or use this link to purchase the $20 tickets. As always, cheers to Erika for bringing the drinking and non-drinking community together from her small-in-size beer store that packs a larger-than-life punch.