More “sober” options in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A national trend has made its way to Grand Rapids, with more and more companies catering to a “sober-curious” audience.

Lotus Brew Coffee and Dry Bar in the northeast of the city, his bar calls an alternative place to have a drink with friends.

“There’s really no place for people who are going alcohol-free by choice” or “because of an addiction, for medical reasons, or for whatever reason,” said owner Max Freeman.

The spa offers a variety of coffees and teas, as well as a wide range of mocktails.

At the Grand Rapids Downtown Market, the Alt City beverage company is slated to open the city’s first alcohol-free liquor store later this year.

The Alt City Beverage Company menu at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. (October 2022)
The Alt City Beverage Company menu at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

“A sober-curious lifestyle has really normalized the fact that you don’t have the expectation of attending a celebration with a glass of wine or a beer in hand,” said Dr. Colleen Lane, director of addiction medicine at Spectrum Health.

The term “sober-curious” broadly refers to people who don’t struggle with substance use disorders but either participate in more mindful and reduced drinking behavior or those who avoid it altogether.

“After the pandemic, there was an interesting cultural phenomenon, particularly among young people, who either observed or participated in (past) behavior and said, ‘Hey, let’s try to do something different,'” Lane said.

Alcohol sales have skyrocketed during the pandemic. Some studies found almost 20% increase on sale from March to September 2020. Doctors across the country saw the effects of increased alcohol consumption. Many hospitals, like Spectrum, have seen an increase in their addiction medicine patients since the pandemic began. Hypertension, weight gain, liver disease are among many medical problems stemming from excessive drinking.

Lane said companies like Lotus and Old Town have helped their clients adopt a healthier lifestyle while being social.

“With alcohol in particular, we know that people who limit their drinking tend to have better blood pressure and less cardiovascular disease,” she said. More "sober" options in Grand Rapids

Dais Johnston

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