By guest author, Adam Butman
Non-alcoholic beer has long had a negative stigma associated with it. When ordering or indulging in an NA beer, one might get questioned:
“Does that taste like beer?”
“What’s the point?”
“Isn’t that just wasted calories?”
“Why don’t you get a real beer?”
Like most topics in life, a lack of education leads to ignorance, so I cannot blame society at large for not understanding the innate value that these unique beverages can bring to individuals and to the world as a whole. It all starts with recognizing the global significance and potential impact NA beer has on people of all walks of life, all over the world. NA beer is not only “real beer”, it is a global movement. A movement I like to call “The NAB Effect”.
To truly understand the impact of “The NAB Effect”, we will need to first uncover the deeper meaning and underlying benefits of a world in which these beverages are more widely recognized. In order to do this, we will explore five simple themes.
NA beer is not only “real beer”, it is a global movement.
1. Cultivating a community who thrives on wellness and self-empowerment
Unlike any other beverage, NABs connect a community of consumers from all walks of life who all have a story and history relating to alcohol in one way or another. There are countless reasons why people choose not to drink alcohol - health reasons, religious beliefs, pregnant mothers, training athletes or those that have had a challenging relationship with booze in the past. These vastly different camps of people, who previously may have felt isolated or alone in their choice not to drink, are now brought together by the appreciation and enjoyment of NA beer - forming a unique global community. Together they typically share common interest in health & lifestyle, personal development, strengthening will power and experiencing life’s simple joys. Not only is this feeling of community beneficial to the individuals in it, there is great global influence from inspiring and positive communities like this.
2. Defeating backward social ‘norms’ or expectations
One of the key goals of the NA movement and an outcome of a globally realized “The NAB Effect” would be to change social norms and expectations around drinking. One very exciting shift we are experiencing is that younger generations are proving to be more health-conscious consumers demanding more information and truth about what they are consuming - both in food & beverage choices. Globally we are seeing sky rocketing demands for organic products, plant-based options, and low calorie alternatives. Stadiums, airports, food courts, etc. are all starting to realize that hot pretzels and hot dogs are not cutting it with a populous that wants and expects more healthy alternatives. With this shift, the NA scene has great opportunity. The more widely available NA beers are the more society will accept and require them as an understood beverage choice. My dream is to have NA beer widely available on tap, in restaurants, stores and marketed everywhere in between. There are millions (and I am not exaggerating by saying millions) of people that would welcome the chance to make significant life changes and choices if NA beers were more widely understood, accepted and available.
The more widely available NA beers are the more society will accept and require them as an understood beverage choice.
3. Contributing to the cultural awakening of health & wellness
Yoga, therapy, mindfulness, meditation, etc. are all billion-dollar industries. Can we ask ourselves why this might be? We live in a society that is pushing harder than ever at demands and response times – a world where technology is keeping us continuously connected. This is leading to overwhelming amounts of anxiety, burnout, and depression. Alcohol has long been an outlet or stress reliever for individuals to combat these challenges. When the economy tanks, alcohol sales go through the roof!
Rather than having this negative contribution to society, NA beer can have a reverse effect. Those of us reaping the benefits of NA beer are commonly just as interested in health & wellness. Without the negative effects of hangovers, weight gain, anxiety, or worse, we can use that energy for physical or mental activity. With a society facing obesity problems, cancer from just about everything, and rapidly increasing mental health challenges, “The NAB Effect” can change millions of lives for the better. Educating and influencing more people to choose a healthy lifestyle and invest in activities that have longevity and purposeful impact is so incredibly important. Many of the new craft NA companies represent these healthy values which resonate with millions throughout the world! A few to name are Athletic Brewing (@athleticbrewing), Wellbeing Brewing (@wellbeingbrewing), and Surreal Brewing (@surrealbrewing).
4. A global impact on productivity
I have always considered myself a very productive person and a hard worker. But, I will admit in my booze drinking days, this was affected depending on what the previous night or weekend looked like. I can honestly say that at least 10-20% of my days throughout the month were somewhat affected in a negative way. The extremity of that varied from as simple as a little lack of sleep or a tinge of a headache, all the way up to a day filled with oversleeping, anxiety and zero positive impact to others. Life is short and we don’t have days or even minutes to waste. What would the world impact be if more individuals made the choice to incorporate NA Beer into their life? This could mean switching to NABs after a couple of drinks in order to decrease overall alcohol intake in an evening, dedicating a weekend night to NABs instead of alcoholic options or maybe even switching to NA beer during the week. These are changes anyone can make that would drastically improve overall productivity, not to mention sleep & health. Can you imagine the shift if even a fraction of these people chose moving completely from booze to NA versions? Just think of the economic impact that would have from a business standpoint or more importantly, the impact it would have on relationships, families, etc.
What would the world impact be if more individuals made the choice to incorporate NA Beer into their life?
5. Diversity in selection and flavor for enjoyment
It may be the most obvious benefit of this movement, but the overall satisfaction and enjoyment the taste of beer brings to people and social circles has powerful mental stimulants. Some may question the point of beer with no booze. But ask yourself, does a Coca-Cola need alcohol for it to be one of the most iconic and recognized brands in the world? Does Coconut or Sparking Water need booze to have skyrocketed in sales over the last five years? We need to rewrite how beer is defined. Just like those other popular beverages (who make up a multi-billion dollar industry), beer has a fan club and that of which should have options that don’t require booze. I am thrilled to see craft breweries like Athletic Brewing, Bravus Brewing, Partake Brewing, Surreal Brewing, Wellbeing Brewing all blazing a trail in this space – offering a variety and selection that hasn’t been seen before. It is also invigorating to see the big guns such as Heineken, Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev making power moves and strong investments into this category. All of these companies have recognized the demand for this positive global movement and are jumping on board.
We need to rewrite how beer is defined.
Simply put, “The NAB Effect” has the opportunity to change millions of lives. I hope these inputs and realizations prove just how positively impactful this segment of the beverage industry can be. I dream of the day that NA beers are listed on every menu, promoted on billboards and widely accepted among social circles. And I am encouraged that day will be here very soon.