Click below to listen to Anna's chat with Phemelo while you read her more detailed notes...
Drunk driving, violence and alcohol-related disease offer daily and disastrous reminders of the negative impact of our nation’s love affair with liquor.
A lot of South Africans don’t drink alcohol at all Perhaps because many alcohol drinkers behave so badly it is easy to forget that they are actually in the minority. WHO statistics also indicate that 65.2% of South African adults declared themselves to be lifetime alcohol abstainers and seventy-two per cent had not consumed alcohol in the last 12 months.
A similar abstention rate of 72.3% was found in a 2011 study published in the African Journal of Psychiatry.
Okay, so maybe some of those interviewed might have lied to the nice doctor with the clipboard but most of them didn’t.
Add to these statistics the people who would generally define themselves as drinkers but who find themselves designated drivers, pregnant or dieting and a significant silent (and thirsty) majority emerges.
So why don’t we make many grown up drinks for people who don’t drink alcohol? So why is it that so little epicurean attention is paid to those adults who don’t drink alcohol?
Just because you don’t want a beer doesn’t mean that you want to be stuck with the cool drinks you consumed as a kid.
When everyone else is pouring over the wine list being offered a choice of still or sparkling water is desperately disappointing.
Brevais a non-alcoholic drink for grown-ups: Gladys Mawoneke created Breva in an attempt to deal with this dilemma. Her lightly carbonated, non-alcoholic malt beverage (available in 4 flavours) is aimed at those who want to be stylish without alcohol.
She says “Breva was born out of my own desire for a sophisticated but non-alcoholic drink. I wanted something classy and tasteful. I longed for a subtle and yet indulgent drink which reflected my status as a successful adult. I wasn’t finding it out there.”
Restaurant options: We all know about food and wine pairing menus – where a chef designs a meal and each course is accompanied by a wine that complements the flavours in the dish. When done well the food and wine together are greater than either component on its own.
Chefs and sommeliers are increasingly offering equivalently sophisticated alcohol-free pairings in addition to their standard food and wine menus.
It is completely possible to pair drinks other than wine. You use exactly the same principles as with a wine pairing. It’s about matching intensity and strength. It’s about deciding to complement flavours or contrast.”
My favourite example is at DW11-13 in Dunkeld Shopping Centre. Their degustation menu has possible wine pairings and the possible alcohol free pairings. 011 341 0663.
Ultimately it’s not rocket science. A lot of South Africans already don’t drink alcohol. Many others should drink less. Those who make their living in the hospitality industry are failing to serve a significant sector of the market.