It’s safe to say 2022 is the year of the booze-free, the sober curious, the mindful drinker.
Derek Brown. Photo from drinkcompany.com
In our own backyard, we started ‘22 with District Fray’s Second Annual Dry January Guide, offering recipes, round-ups, and interviews with D.C.’s star players of the no and low alcohol scene. In February, Samantha Kasten opened Umbrella Dry Drinks’ month-long pop-up in Alexandria, VA. Throughout the spring and summer, an increasing number of bars and restaurants began to offer intentional non-alcoholic options for patrons across the DMV. In August, Kasten opened a long-term pop-up due to high demand and a real thirst for these products. In October, Gigi Arandid launched her capsule collection of I Am Sxber t-shirts to signal the coming of her alcohol-free social space, Binge Bar.
And now we have the area’s first ever Mindful Drinking Festival on Saturday, November 5 spearheaded by Derek Brown – renowned mixologist, author and owner of the highly acclaimed Columbia Room (which bittersweetly shuttered its doors earlier this year), arguably D.C.’s first mindful drinking outpost – and Erika Goedrich of Craft Beer Cellar DC, whose aisles offer full proof, low proof, and no proof options for customers and will be the backdrop for the festival.
Says Goedrich, “We’ve seen an explosion in the number of products available as well as growth in the number of people asking about non-alcoholic options. Some people are cutting back on alcohol while others are cutting out entirely. There are so many reasons a person may be looking for a non-alcoholic option.” Goedrich hopes that “guests talk to each other and share stories or festival gives people a chance to explore, yes the beverages, but also how mindful drinking — drinking with attention and intention — fits into their lifestyle.”