More non-alcoholic options across the DC area this ‘Dry January’

As more people try out 'Dry January,' the D.C. region is seeing many more options for booze-free drinks, WTOP's Stetson Miller reports.

There are lots of places to find mocktails, non-alcoholic wines, beers and seltzers across the D.C. area, but it hasn’t always been this way.

This “Dry January” — when people take on the resolution to drink less or go sober altogether — experts in the D.C. region are sharing the myriad of new options for the “sober-curious.”

“What we’re seeing more of now is just people drinking less and wanting, and demanding, options that are good,” said Laura Silverman, the founder of Booze Free in DC and Zero Proof Nation, websites she started to track booze-free beverages and the restaurants, bars and stores that serve them in our area.

Silverman has been sober since 2007 and wanted to show people that they could still find fun drinks that are not alcoholic.

“I think it’s important for people to be aware of options and then also to just know that they can have fun drinking less or not drinking at all,” she said.

Sam Kasten opened Umbrella Dry Drinks in Old Town Alexandria for a similar reason. She started learning more about alcohol free beverages when she got sober in 2018.

“I want to be able to buy this stuff in person… and be able to show people that you can still have fun and be social and not have to drink alcohol,” she said.

There is also a whole festival dedicated to nonalcoholic drinks in D.C. now, Mindful Drinking Fest. It returns for the second time on Jan. 21 and is doubling in size, says co-founder and spirits expert Derek Brown.

“In Dry January, that’s when [people are] starting to address that relationship with alcohol. And so this is the perfect time to offer Mindful Drinking Fest,” Brown said.

The festival had 125 visitors in November and quickly sold out, Brown told WTOP. It begins at 3 p.m. at the Selina DC near Union Market and will feature 75 different alcoholic products.

“I think that’s the most nonalcoholic products under one roof, in the U.S.,” he said.

Tickets start at $35. More information is available on its website.

Alexandria-based Port City Brewing Company started offering their first alcohol-free seltzer this month: Hopwell.

Founder Bill Butcher said the hoppy seltzer was developed for several months after people started asking for nonalcoholic drinks.

“The beers that we brew, the styles that we brew, they come from what we think is going to be popular,” he said. “And over the past couple of years, we’ve had more and more customers asking for nonalcoholic options.”

Stetson Miller

Stetson Miller is an anchor and reporter for WTOP. He has worked in TV newsrooms for the last several years in New York, Baltimore, Washington and Charleston, SC.

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