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Study: Most Americans Are Interested in Sober Bars

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It appears many Americans are rather intrigued by the “sober curious” movement.

A new study reveals that 51% of Americans wish they had access to a sober bar as an alternative to traditional watering holes – a trend supported by International Wine and Spirit Research’s forecast that demand for no- and low-alcohol libations will increase by roughly one-third by 2026.

Despite the interest in non-alcoholic bars, 86% of Americans lack access to such establishments.

Rob Theodorow, a curator with Generation NA, told casinos.us that his alcohol-free bar in Lafayette, Indiana, “opened one year ago and (has) seen sales increase every month. It’s not just a fad for Dry January.

“It’s a growing trend, and it’s here to stay.”

Approximately 67% of those surveyed want to reduce their alcohol consumption, with health factors playing a key role. Some 41% of respondents said they simply seek a lifestyle change.

Other key takeaways from the survey:

  • New York City has 23 sober bars, the most of any American city
  • 7% of drinkers are ditching alcohol for physical or mental health reasons

Casinos.us surveyed 1,000 Americans in May to gauge their interest in consuming non-alcoholic drinks. The site found that Denver was the city with the most residents interested in visiting a sober bar (82%), followed closely by Minneapolis (80%).

On a related note, Sharelle Klaus told The Food Institute in 2022 she invented non-alcohol, ready-to-drink beverage brand DRY because, throughout her pregnancies with four kids, she felt underwhelmed and left out by the sugary, highly-processed non-alcoholic beverages that were available. Modern consumers appreciate experiences that make people feel included and elevate social drinking, she noted.

“People like having options. Most customers drink for three reasons: the taste, to relax, or for social expectations,” Theodorow added. “A non-alcoholic shop can cover all of these, without the hangovers.”