The alcohol industry cherry-picks science and sells us the lie that alcohol will solve all our problems or will roll out the red carpet for our best self. But the sober community’s collective healing has caused a ripple effect that even Big Alcohol is having to answer to. 

You are on the receiving end of this ripple effect when the first sober woman walks into your social circle and sparks your sober-curiosity. You keep it moving forward when your neighbor catches you reading a sober memoir on your patio and starts asking hard questions. Or when a company as huge as Anheuser-Busch launches a non-alcoholic beer and then a huge campaign to support those going sober during Dry January. 

A new survey shows that more and more people are considering Dry January and committing to healthier lifestyles. 

A new survey shows that more and more people are considering Dry January and committing to healthier lifestyles. And the sober community watches it play out further as Budweiser responds by introducing their alcohol-free beer, Zero, last July with marketing towards those “who want to enjoy the taste of beer without compromising their busy and active life.”

Budweiser likely didn’t call a public health meeting to sift through the mounds of research on the toxicity of their bestsellers or work late nights to untie addiction from their business model. The company’s “Drink Wiser” campaign does not feel like a come-to-Jesus moment. But that’s not all bad news. 

Budweiser Zero is a response to sales data and trends, not an act of reconciliation or social responsibility. The growing community of sober and mindful drinkers is the next financial opportunity, and it’s not surprising that Budweiser wants a piece of the non-alcoholic beverage industry and the fastest growing segment of the beer market

But at the very least, Budweiser Zero and Team Zero, a club for those who want to quit drinking for the month of January feels like a nod to the sober community and solid evidence that the ripple effect is noticeable. It’s measurable. And the Big Alcohol industry is watching. Even though I won’t be using my voting dollars on Bud Zero, I feel seen.

Our small, daily choices are snowballing, creating a significant cultural shift, and forcing big corporations to respond by expanding their product offerings.

Let it serve as a warm pat on the back to those of us in the active resistance of sobriety. Our small, daily choices are snowballing, creating a significant cultural shift, and forcing big corporations to respond by expanding their product offerings. It is an encouraging sign that our collective unlearning is slowly moving the needle. 

For those of you curious about Dry January, try it. That’s where I started four years ago. It’s also where I failed five days short with several bottles of wine and a headache that required assistance to lift off my pillow. Start again. And again. And again. If Budweiser Zero helps you through, get after it. January is just the beginning.