Preference for non-alcoholic drinks ‘becoming a movement,’ says brewery

The co-founder of a non-alcoholic beverage company on Prince Edward Island has seen a growing interest in people wanting to drink less, and expects this trend to continue.

New drinking guidelines by the Canadian Center for Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) were released on Tuesday, saying that even drinking three to six times a week increases your risk of developing certain cancers. recommended.

Mitch Cobb, CEO of Upstreet Craft Brewing in Charlottetown, said he wasn’t surprised by these recommendations.

“I think we’ve known for a long time that alcohol isn’t good for you, it’s not good for your health.

Mitch Cobb, CEO and co-founder of Upstreet Craft Brewing, says non-alcoholic beverages offer an alternative option for people who choose not to drink or choose to drink less. (Ryan Williams Unbound Media)

Cobb was spurred to create Libra, a non-alcoholic beverage, after his own experience of wanting to limit the frequency of his drinking.

“After being in the beer industry for a few years, it seemed to start taking quite a toll on my health,” he said, adding that he saw similar sentiments in his colleagues.

people who choose to drink less

Since Libra launched in 2020, Cobb said there’s been a lot of national interest, with “very strong demand” at the Maritimes.

Cobb said he sees a tendency for people to shy away from drinking, especially as they get older and have families.

In a refrigerator full of cans of non-alcoholic beer.
First launched in 2020, Libra is now available in all provinces across Canada, said co-owner Mitch Cobb. (Stacy Janzer/CBC)

“People just wanted to have the same social experience they had before, just drinking less. They just didn’t want to wake up with a headache the next morning,” he said.

Having non-alcoholic beverages is about giving people options whether they choose to drink or not.

“I really think it’s becoming a movement now. I think people are becoming very conscious of their health and wellness,” he said, adding that he only hopes this will continue. added.

‘Amazing’ interest in low-alcohol options

For Jared Murphy, co-owner of Lone Oak Brewery, interest in Noble, one of the low-alcohol beverages, came as an unexpected surprise.

At 0.7% alcohol per cup, this drink is significantly lower than the remaining alcohol content the brewery currently offers (4%+).

“It’s really amazing to see how well low-alcohol brands are selling,” Murphy said.

Jared Murphy in front of a brewing company.
Lone Oak Brewing CEO Jared Murphy said he was surprised to see such high demand for one of the brewery’s low-alcohol beverage offerings. (Tony Davis/CBC)

While it was first released as a test to see if the market was there, Murphy said the company is currently struggling to keep up with demand for Noble and is looking to expand.

“I think more people are becoming more conscious of what they are putting into their bodies.They are becoming more conscious of their health.

Islanders Should Know the Risks: Dr. Morrison

Murphy said it would be nice for the government to provide some guidelines, but ultimately people would make their own decisions.

“I think it’s information that people can carry around and choose for themselves,” he said of the guidelines. is.”

Heather Morrison, Ph.D., Chief Public Health Officer of PEI, said the new guidelines provide evidence-based advice. They precede the state’s alcohol policy forum, which takes place next week and is led by Morrison’s office.

“I think all islanders have the right to know that all alcohol use is associated with risks so they can make better, more informed decisions about their health.” I will,” she said.

According to Morrison, historical data shows more than 3,000 emergency room visits in one year and 26 alcohol-related deaths from PEI.

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