In the era of keto diets and 14-day fitness challenges, it shouldn’t come as a huge shock that abstaining from booze has become a hit new wellness trend. #Sober October, the self-explanatory challenge wherein one abstains from alcohol for the whole month, is expected to gain a lot of participants this year. If anything like its preceding cousin challenge – Dry January – Sober October won’t be lacking in those who pledge to ditch the alcohol for thirty-one days. In a poll conducted by Nielsen, a whopping one in five Americans pledged to go “dry” this past January.

Whether or not abstaining from alcohol for a month can lead to overall greater health and a longer lifetime is unconcluded. The timeless debate on the health benefits of one glass of red wine a day seems to gain new findings every year. What we do know is that Sober October has an impact on restaurants and bars that consider alcohol to be a menu staple. But don’t panic just yet! Take a look at how restaurants are welcoming this challenge – and even turning a profit from it. 

Bring on the ‘Mocktails’

Despite its name, there’s no reason to mock the alcohol-free cocktail known as a ‘mocktail’. It is becoming extremely popular with millennials and is worth exploring. Restaurants in the NYC area and beyond are capitalizing on the trend by whipping up zero percent alcohol concoctions to cater to those participating in Sober October and beyond. The NoMad Hotel Bar has a whole menu devoted to its “soft cocktails”, serving mocktails like ginger-infused sparkling water and fresh grapefruit tonics. Popular East Village restaurant Mother of Pearl hones in on the health is wealth ideology with non-alcoholic cocktails to complement its plant-based menu.  

What Exactly is ‘Sober Curious’?

The ‘sober curious’ are defined as those who choose to drink less or not at all for reasons other than addiction or alcoholism. Previously mentioned Nielsen data revealed that the top two explanations for ditching the booze – whether it be for a month or permanently – are weight loss and the desire to be healthier. In fact, this generation is drinking less than its predecessors. The study shows that sixty-six percent of millennials said they planned on reducing alcohol consumption this year. 

Incorporating Low-ABV Beverages into Drink Menus

A low-ABV means that a drink has lower alcohol by volume. This is appealing to bar-goers who want to enjoy a cocktail or beer without some of the unpleasant side effects that come with heavy drinking. While there are many who are refraining from the Sober October challenge, it’s important to highlight an increasing interest in cutting back on drinking. Low-ABV beer is a particularly hot beverage right now, and popular brands like Lagunitas and Allagash both have brews racking in at 3 to 4% alcohol content. The average ABV for beer is generally 4.5 to 5%.

Bringing #SoberOctober and Sober Curiosity to Your Restaurant

Experimenting with mocktails and low-ABV beverages may be a good idea for your establishment during October and beyond. Many Americans are ditching the booze or cutting back for health reasons, but that doesn’t mean they want to stay in every weekend. Adding a few low or no alcohol drinks to your menu will get more customers in the door who plan on abstaining from tequila shots on a Friday night. Plus, mocktails will rack in a few more bucks than the conventional seltzer or diet coke order.