Who says you can’t have your beverage and drink it too? Recent research indicates a rising inclination towards mindful alcohol consumption in Canada. According to a beverage forecast from Drizly, the non-alcoholic category witnessed a substantial 62 percent surge in 2023 compared to the previous year, establishing itself as one of the swiftly expanding subcategories in the market. The LCBO has also underscored the increasing popularity of lighter, low-ABV, and non-alcoholic alternatives on its shelves, reflecting a prevailing shift towards more temperate drinking choices. With the onset of Dry January, a month where an unprecedented number of Canadians are reassessing their habits and abstaining from alcohol as a personal challenge, we’ve compiled a list of three top-tier, non-alcoholic beverage brands to discover during this period. —Christina Armanious
In an effort to introduce innovative and robust beverage alternatives that bridge the gap between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, sisters Katie Fielding and Andrea Grand launched Barbet. Inspired by Katie’s decision to abstain from alcohol following severe epilepsy, they recognized a demand for a premium sparkling water suitable for sipping straight from the can or blending with a spirit—something that would get people asking what are you drinking instead of why aren’t you drinking. Barbet is set to launch a limited-edition can on January 4, featuring designs by Toronto-based artist Briony Douglas. The flavours include a lively combination of zesty pink grapefruit with a hint of ginger and earthy juniper; a refreshing mix of crisp cucumber and sun-drenched pineapple with a subtle touch of lavender, and a tangy fusion of blood orange and vibrant calamansi with hot jalapeno pepper.
After spending over two decades working in the corporate space, Suzette Ramcharan became increasingly dissatisfied with the prevalent hustle culture centred around alcohol, and recognizing the need to address her own consumption, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Noticing the lack of appealing options in premixed mocktails, often characterised by subpar taste and excessive added sugars, Suzette embarked on the journey to establish DRNK. This innovative beverage brand introduces two distinctive, low-sugar canned mocktails—the Moscow Mule and Mojito. Infused with a hint of caffeine, these ready-to-drink or ready-to-mix concoctions are designed to keep you in sync with the lively atmosphere of any gathering.
Growing up with a passion for wellness, Anika Sawni shifted away from her healthy lifestyle upon entering university, opting for a more party-centric and indulgent approach. It wasn’t until her fourth year that she decided to embrace sobriety, prompted by witnessing her friends engage in risky behaviours and questioning the normalisation of binge drinking. Frustrated with limited non-alcoholic options like soda water and lime, Anika, along with her brother, ventured into the creation of a booze-free beverage business. Grüvi now aims to foster an environment where individuals no longer have to compromise their well-being for a social life and can feel at ease during gatherings, regardless of their drink choice. The brand offers a renowned selection of non-alcoholic beer and wine, recognized with numerous national and international awards—notably, a Gold Medal for Best Non-Alcoholic Beer in the World at the World Beer Cup.