As we approach the midpoint of Dry January, two area craft producers have announced nonalcoholic releases.
In an article this week, Morning Consult noted that nearly 20 percent of adults planned to take part in an alcohol-free January in 2022, up from 13 percent over last year. That includes folks who plan to totally abstain as well as those partially drying out.
From 2016 to 2020, sales of N/A beverages soared by a whopping 289 percent. Last year, that sector grew by another 78.9 percent, according to the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis.
That’s why new N/A beers appearing all the time – and finally, thankfully, ever-more drinkable – and it’s no surprise that more local brewers and distillers are getting on board.
Last year, Lakefront Brewery launched an N/A version of its popular Riverwest Stein, brewed at Waunakee’s Octopi Brewing.
On Wednesday, Indeed Brewing Company announced that it has released Hoopla Hop Water on tap at its Walker’s Point taproom, and recently Great Lakes Distillery announced the release later this month of Junipre, a non-alcoholic botanical spirit with juniper berries, ginseng, orange zest, cardamom, chili pepper, and coriander.
Junipre is the first release from GLD’s new N/A spirits company, called Boundless Beverage Co., which will sell its alcohol-free quaffs under the Sans label.
“Consumers’ tastes and desires are increasingly diversified as they become more and more health conscious,” said GLD founder Guy Rehorst.
“Those who are looking to lower or eliminate alcohol from their evening for whatever reason still want the enjoyment of a well-crafted cocktail, and a complex botanical spirit can deliver just that.”
Junipre can be used to make N/A gin and tonics, or to dramatically lower the alcoholic content of other popular cocktails, says Great Lakes Distillery Bar Manager Brendan Cleary.
“Using Junipre in place of a 44 percent ABV gin in something like a Negroni drops the alcohol in that drink from 24 percent to around 10 percent alcohol by volume,” says Cleary.
“The same substitution in a standard martini brings the alcohol content down to just about 2 percent, but still with plenty of flavor.”
Sans Junipre is currently available in the GLD Tasting Room and some area liquor stores thanks to Wisconsin distribution deals with Capitol-Husting and Allstate Distributors LLC.
A special release event will be held Thursday, Jan. 27 at 5 p.m. at the Great Lakes Distillery Tasting Room, 616 W. Virginia St. in Walker’s Point.
Meanwhile, back on the other side of Walker’s Point, Indeed’s Hoopla is a fizzy sparkler with the citrus and earthy qualities of Mosaic and Sultana hops and light bitterness.
It is available on tap and in crowlers to-go.
“Our research and development team created and perfected our recipe for Hoopla at our pilot brewery in Milwaukee,” says Indeed Sales Director Ryan Brandy.
“We’re excited to offer a non-alcoholic craft beverage for our fans who are enjoying Dry January or want to mix in an NA option at the brewery."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.