When Jon B. decided to get fit, he made changes to his lifestyle and his diet. He started drinking less alcohol and pretty soon the benefits were so easy to see that he committed to a one-year-long alcohol-free stint. He hasn’t looked back since and “with the quality of non-alcoholic beer and alternatives that are available today, I don't really see the need to!”
GIVE US SOME BACKGROUND ON YOURSELF
I'm 33 years old, living in Sydney with my wife, son and doggo on the edge of the Inner West. I work as a producer/camera operator in sports television, namely football (soccer) and cricket. My interests, right now, are all about getting back into Skating and my pursuit of trying as much of the world’s non-alcoholic beer range as possible.
WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO MOVE TO NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINKS?
After years of partying and becoming a dad, I decided it was time to get into shape. At first, I decided to up the exercise and drastically change my diet. After a few months, I looked into doing the whole “no booze for a year” thing. Five months into it, taking in the noticeable effect it had had on my gut health and weight, I decided I would keep on going with the booze ban.
WHAT WERE THE BENEFITS YOU GAINED FROM LOWERING OR STOPPING YOUR ALCOHOL INTAKE?
The dramatic impact it has had on my gut health is unbelievable! Before I had bad symptoms of IBS, stomach cramps, heartburn and reflux; especially when I combined my love of spicy food and alcohol. Since dropping the beers I can chow down on as much spicy food and pork without any effect on my gut health. Before that would have left me in all sorts of trouble. On top of the diet and exercise changes, my weight has dropped pretty easily! Down 15kgs!
DO YOU STILL DRINK ALCOHOL SOMETIMES?
I haven't had alcohol since going NA, which was mid-2019. I've never written off the idea of having champagne or a beer at a celebration one day down the track. But with the quality of non-alcoholic beer and alternatives that are available today, I don't really see the need to!
HOW HAVE PEOPLE REACTED WHEN YOU DECIDED TO STOP DRINKING ALCOHOL?
It's funny, when you tell people you've decided to ditch the booze, and stick to alcohol-free drinks, the initial reaction is pretty full-on. Lots of "what's the point”, “oh, don't be boring", “way to be a party pooper”, “just have one, it doesn’t matter” etc. I've had people tell me that they are really uncomfortable with the fact I'm not drinking. I mean you get used to being introduced to new people like the guy who doesn’t drink, but it can wear you down. After a while people come to accept it, I’ve even won a few people over with some of the amazing non-alcoholic beers that are on offer these days! Social situations are a lot less awkward when bars stock NA options that aren’t just soda water.
DO YOU HAVE A PARTNER IN SOBRIETY? IF YES, WHO?
With bub number two due in late January, my wife is on board with the NA drinks for now. In saying that, she has been super supportive of my decision to ditch the grog and is always keen to try out any new beers and cocktails I order in. I have a 12-year tradition of bringing obscure craft beers to my father-in-law every time we go visit the farm. Of late I've been bringing him some full strength and non-alcoholic beers to try. He has been loving the stouts that are on the market right now.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE NON-ALCOHOLIC DRINK?
I’m a beer guy through and through, so I’ll be diplomatic and shout out a couple of my favourite alcohol-free beer here. From the Aussie scene, Sobah Pepperberry IPA, UpFlow Session IPA and Heaps Normal are high on the list. The imported stuff, it has to Lucky Saint and Nirvana Organic Pale! I recently tried the Zero Proof cocktail range from Altina and they really hit the spot, a great summer drink!
WHERE DO YOU USUALLY ENJOY YOUR NON-ALCOHOLIC BEERS?
I still really enjoy a couple of alcohol-free beers on a Friday evening after a long slog at work. Not many pubs are onto the NA beers right now, so I’m enjoying some craft at BBQs and backyard events. The weather is slightly on the up in Sydney and I enjoyed a Heaps Normal XPA after a big skate session this week.
FINALLY, TO WHOM WOULD YOU RECOMMEND MAKING THIS CHOICE?
There has been a lot of media around NA of late, especially with the recent Shaun Micallef series, On The Sauce. I’ve had a lot of mates reach out and ask about non-alcoholic beer options since it’s airing. It’s all about personal choice, I’m not against drinking at all, I just felt I needed to cut it out to help get into shape. I’d recommend people who want to cut back, lose some weight, etc, giving it a go as a midweek option. A mate of mine made the choice to only stock NA at home and have full strength as a treat when going out. Given the tough times, a lot of people are probably over indulging or have upped their intake of grog. NA still gives you that same full flavour without the downsides!
Finally, a shout out to you and the team at Craftzero! It’s amazing to have you guys on the scene, importing some of the best non-alcoholic drinks from around the world! Not so long ago we were stuck choosing from 2 or 3 options in the back corners of bottle shops. The scene is on the boom here and you guys are helping drive that, which we are all so stoked about. Cheers :beers:
If you liked Jon B.’s story, follow his Instagram account rad_dad_jon for updates on the best alcohol-free beers he drinks. And if beer isn’t your thing, check out Craftzero expansive choice of wines, spirits and mixers.