One of the most wonderful and grounding (and hurtful) things about spending time with the oldest of friends, is that some of the social niceties that we all pretend not to appreciate go straight out of the window.
Maybe we know each other too well. Or maybe seeing each other squirm a little is one of life’s guiltiest of pleasures. Whatever it is, my bubble was abruptly burst thanks to some of my closest friends, in what I’m calling my Australian Awakening.
It probably won’t surprise you to know that I consider myself to be quite an obsessive advocate of alcohol free. So, my recent visit to Australia brought me genuine joy in seeing a truly exciting selection of alcohol-free drinks in almost any bottle shop (off-license for my British friends) that I’d encounter.
Times had clearly changed. And one would be forgiven for imagining Australia leaping towards the forefront of the alcohol-free movement. A proud moment for an alcohol-free Aussie.
That is of course, until my oldest friends stepped into the equation. And the optimistic skip in my step was quickly clipped by some very ingrained cultural norms… by some very blunt opinions… and - am I too old to say - by some very persistent peer pressure?!
Innocently armed with some of my favourite alcohol-free treats at a dinner party, my anticipation of introducing people to a delicious new discovery soon turned to an unpleasant realisation.
Not only were my cherished discoveries unwelcome and unwanted. Their presence was clearly a slight on the social occasion. A smear on the dinner table. And a sign that only excessive alcohol could cleanse me of my mistakes and wrestle me back to my (dulled) senses.
My drinks remained un-sampled. And I’m ashamed to say that I succumbed.
If I’m honest, I didn’t actually have much choice in the matter. And any romantic ideals of converting old friends and family members to the joys of my still-rather-new world of alcohol-free drinking were cruelly and unceremoniously crushed.
So. That’s how one of the world’s most avid alcohol-free fans came to spend four days drinking all sorts of alcohol - pretty copiously - with some of his oldest friends.
That’s how I was reminded that - despite how far our industry, our producers, our businesses, and our supporters have come over recent months and years, there’s still a long, looooong way for us to go.
But above all, it’s a reminder that four days of alcohol has a torrid and clinging effect on your sleep, your health, and your overall happiness. And maybe life’s too short for all those things to suffer unnecessarily.
Not only have I returned with some amazing and exclusive Australian alcohol-free wine (launching early 2023), I’ve returned feeling even more excited about what we can achieve with ZeroZilchZip. And even more determined to meet our mission of helping the world to drink differently… even if it does prove to be a lifelong journey.
So, I’d like to say thank you to everybody that has supported us so far. We’ve added some spectacular new drinks to our curation in recent weeks… so if you’ve not tried them yet, I’d urge you to give them a go.