Sales of non-alcoholic beverages are soaring and what better month to reflect on your own drinking habits than Dry July?
Since 2009, the Dry July Foundation has raised more than $60 million for people with cancer; already more than 15,000 people have signed up to participate in 2021.
If you're one of them, here are a few ideas to get you through the month.
And even if you fall off the wagon - more than one-third of people who challenge themselves to a booze-free month fail - don't despair. We still love the concept of Dry-ish July. Nevertheless these beers, wines and spirits are tasty enough to find a place in your fridge all year round.
$49rrp per case 24 x 330ml bottles.
Australian-made and female-founded Nort Beer has produced three new varieties including the latest Pacific Ale, just in time for Dry July. It comes from the team at Modus Operandi Brewing, who recognise that simply removing alcohol from a beer often leaves the product tasting sweet and plain, leaving you dissatisfied or disappointed. So, with years of brewing experience, the team set out to craft a new non-alcoholic beer using traditional brewing methods from scratch. This means there's no compromise on craftsmanship, quality and flavour while delivering an exceptional full flavoured, non-alcoholic beer, which is as close to the real deal as what you will find. Nort recently took out a silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards in the awards first year of a non-alcoholic beer category. Try the world's first Pacific Ale, the Tropical XPA, the All Day IPA or the flagship Refreshing Ale. Every beer is below 52 calories which makes Nort's range the lowest-calorie Australian-made beer in the country.
Freixenet premium sparkling rose
This sparkling rose from Freixenet, a Spanish family-owned wine business whose roots go back to 1861, is anything but fake. The alcohol has been removed, sure, but there is still plenty of flavour and it's very pleasant drinking. Initial aromas of wild berries and floral notes, on drinking it's well-balanced and quite dry. It's a beautiful pale pink and medium-sized bubbles produce a refreshing mouth feel. There's no more enjoyable sound than the pop of a sparkling cork and this bottle didn't disappoint.
$50rrp for 8 x 300ml bottles.
We're loving these funky little 300ml bottles of fun from Monday Distillery, sophisticated and sugar free but just like the real thing. Mezcalita is the latest flavour, a cheeky twist on the traditional margarita. Others to try include the classic G an exotic spiced G a dark and stormy with flavours of rum, ginger and lime; a whiskey and dry ginger inspired dram and dry; and the paloma with a refreshing tequila taste with grapefruit, passion fruit, yuzu and finger lime. Pimp your drink with one of their garnish kits, which could include anything from dried cucumber in your G&T to dried pineapple for your dark and stormy. There are great combination packs available as well. Based out of Geelong and available nationally.
Great Northern Brewing
$39.99 per case of 24 x 330ml.
The idea that a non-alcoholic beer can get the tick of approval from beer drinkers in the Northern Territory means it must be pretty good. Great Northern Zero has all the qualities of its full-tasting stable mate, with a fruity aroma that carries through to the palate with a subtle bitterness which finishes clean and crisp. Great Northern Zero will be available in cans and bottles, six-packs or cartons of 24.
Athletic Brewing Co
$19.99rrp for 6 x 375ml cans.
Trailblazing brewing company, Athletic Brewing Co., who has 50 per cent of the US craft non-alcoholic beer market, are launching into the Australian market. The innovative brewer is launching two of its most popular beers - the Upside Dawn Golden Ale and the Run Wild IPA into the Australian market just in time for Dry July. Athletic Brewing Co. has been creating non-alcoholic beer since 2017 and was the first brewery and tap room fully devoted to the production of non-alcoholic craft beer in the US. Both the Run Wild IPA and Upside Dawn Golden Ale have won numerous awards in the US Open Beer Championships, World Beer Awards and the International Beer Challenge.
$38rrp x 24 x 375ml cans.
Tinnies Ultra-Low Alcohol Hoppy Ale has just been crowned the best non-alcohol beer at the prestigious Australian International Beer Awards. In many low- or zero-alcohol beers, where the alcohol is removed by filtration, flavour can be lost but the the Hoppy Ale is brewed using a specially-selected yeast and careful temperature control so that the fermentation process naturally produces almost no alcohol, clocking in at 0.5 per cent ABV. The ale is bursting with hoppy aromas of bright citrus and fresh pine with a malty backbone and extra hops offering a generous but balanced bitterness.
Noughty Sparkling Chardonnay
Acclaimed wine reviewers are calling this one of the best alcohol-free wines on the market. Produced with 100 per cent organic chardonnay grapes from Spain, this sparkling has half the sugar - only 14 calories per 100ml - and it's vegan friendly, too. Elegant pale colour with a crisp and ripe apple scent accompanied by a touch of sweetness, it's elegant and dry and as close to the real thing as you'll get.
Big Drop Brewing
$16rrp for 4 x 375ml cans.
July calls for a stout so check out the Galactic Milk Stout from Big Drop Brewing. With notes of coffee, cocoa nibs and a lingering hint of sweet vanilla, this beer is rich, dark, and indulgent. Forget the notion that this is a beer style that has had its day, instead, think of it as honeycomb covered in chocolate, because that's exactly what it tastes like: rich, unctuous and an absolutely decadent treat. Food matching suggestions include desserts like a chocolate brownie or rich slow-cooked savoury dishes.
$108rrp for 24 x 250ml cans.
Altina Drinks are craft cocktails that offer "all of the party and none of the hangover", the Canberra-based company offering beautiful alternatives to sparkling water or a schooner of soft drink. Made from plant ingredients including bark, spices, flowers and herbs, and in addition to providing a sexy zero proof option that stacks up against a glass of champagne or a craft beer at lunch, the drinks are driving an important conversation around the Aussie drinking culture. We're loving their little 250ml cocktail cans: the signature cocktail Light Me Up is inspired by native flavours, the La Vie en Rose features hibiscus and rose petals, and there's even an Espresso Yourself, with all the charm of an espresso martini.
I'm a fan of the See No Evil rose so I was keen to try the Funky Monkey range from the same team. Made with quality grapes sourced from premium dry-grown South Australian vineyards, these wines are vibrant and full-flavoured. Once the alcohol has been removed, giving a more deliciously satisfying and authentic wine taste without the alcohol. The blanc de blanc is bubbly on the palate with notes of citrus and apple. There's a deep pinot noir with typical characters of dried herb and spice. But the pick for me is the pinot grigio, the palate is a burst of citrus underpinned by balanced sweetness and acidity.
$4.99rrp x 355ml can.
Since it was launched out of Canberra in July 2020 Heaps Normal Quiet XPA has become one of the most popular beers in the country. The extra pale ale has been likened to Balter's genre defining XPA. It is brewed with a specific yeast that consumes very few sugars resulting in an alcohol content of 0.5 per cent. There's no more alcohol in it than orange juice that's been open in the fridge for a couple of days, or a bottle of kombucha. It tastes like a real beer. We love it.
You'll be surprised at the range of non-alcoholic options in your regular bottleshop. Just ask. At BWS and Dan Murphy's sales of non-alcoholic drinks have increased by 83 per cent in the past 12 months and they're keeping up with the demand, with more than 200 different options to choose from nationwide.
Or there's always a handy website, these ones offer much more than just a good bargain.
Irene Falcone launched Sans Drinks online in 2020 and earlier this year set up a retail space on Sydney's northern beaches - opposite a Vintage Cellars store, cheeky woman. Reports are she made a quarter of a million dollars in the first six months after launching the website. You can see why, her aim is to bring the world's best alcohol-free drinks to your door, with exclusive brands and speedy delivery.
When Brisbane's Kat Brophy decided to go off booze for an entire year the reactions were kind of mixed. So she decided to scour the world for the best alcohol free offerings and is now selling them through this fun website. There's a good section of recipes - wormwood and tonic anyone - and a good blog with some interesting background stories as well.
A great range of non-alcoholic drinks from around the world, with plenty more on the site, including a useful blog, to help you navigate the marketplace and the thinking behind it. Craft Zero donates $1 for every purchase made to an Australian charity, which changes up each month.
The Conscious Drop
An online hub offering information, tasting notes, healthy recipes and lifestyle tips for those looking to expand their knowledge about wines to complement healthy lifestyle choices, such as zero alcohol, preservative free, vegan, and organic.