Restaurants and bars in the U.S. are reopening and Americans who have been cooped up for more than a year are relishing socializing in person again. What's different, though, is that watering-hole patrons are increasingly consuming alcohol-free cocktails, wine and beer, after lockdown fueled an uptick in alcohol sales in the early months of the pandemic.
Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, is a bar without booze, where patrons gather to meet, listen to live music, and enjoy alcohol-free cocktails. Owner Chris Marshall told CBSN that the bulk of his patrons aren't sober — except for when they visit the establishment.
"A lot of people just want to drink less. A lot of people just want to socialize without having the hangover," he told CBSN.
Retailers are serving up dozens of varieties of alcohol-free spirits like zero-proof gin and tequila, and non-alcoholic beers.
Drinks market analysis company IWSR said interest in low- and no-alcohol beer, wine and spirits is growing faster than overall alcohol consumption.
"Moderation has become part of the everyday lifestyle," Brandy Rand, chief operating officer of IWSR told CBSN.
Los Angeles-based botanical beverage and body care company Amass has also noticed that consumers are gravitating toward it's non-alcoholic spirit, called Riverine. Launched in late January, sales of Riverine are outpacing the company's flagship gin product by 400%. It also comprises 40% of the company's e-commerce sales, a company spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch.
Consumers report that they enjoy winding down with a clear head — and of course waking up the next morning headache-free.