Many celebrities such as Jake Owen and Nicki Minaj have begun sharing their sober journey and how being sober has not only better their bodies from the inside, but their whole perspective, and their outlook on life; I mean we already saw the transformation of Robert Downey Jr from jailbait to Iron Man.
For those who are choosing sobriety, it’s not easy and sometimes going out with friends & family has its challenges especially when there’s alcohol involved and sadly, some pressure from those disrespecting your choice to not drink. However, it’s not really the alcohol we’re missing, it’s the mixology, the fun drinks, crafty and tasty creations, the vibe of just saying cheers with a glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve and founders of Raising the Bar, Abbie & Devon Romanul experienced that first hand and decided to do something about it.
“Just a few weeks after I made the decision to stop drinking, my husband Devin and I were heading to a New Year’s Eve party and I was feeling a bit anxious about feeling left out without a glass of champagne in hand.” explains Abbie, “I’ve always been the one mixing up cocktails and getting creative with mixology – I knew that I would really miss out on the fun and creativity of mixing up drinks when hosting friends or just to enjoy on my own. That’s when we came up with the idea for an alcohol-free cocktail kit. We found that there were plenty of cocktail subscription boxes on the market but not a single one geared towards offering drinks that were alcohol-free! I knew that if I was looking for something special to mix up without the booze, others must be feeling the same way.”
So who/what is Raising the Bar exactly? Raising the Bar is a subscription box service based on zero-proof cocktail (mocktail) kits that are “crafted intentionally for alcohol-free enjoyment and discovery of new products – turning the choice not to drink into a celebratory experience. In each monthly box, customers receive everything they need to mix up four servings of the drink of the month, a recipe card and a fun extra or two such as a bartool or garnish.”
Don’t know how to be your DIY mixologist or bartender? No worries, your Raising the Bar’s subscription also provides access to video tutorials sharing mixology techniques as well as additional recipes to help you get the most out of your experience.
I had a chance to sit down over a non-alcoholic Sparkling Rose by Sovi, an option from the subscription, with Raising the Bar’s founder Abbie Romanul to talk about the brand, US history on alcohol, and where she sees the non-alcoholic lifestyle headed.
What was one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced when starting the company?
Starting a new business while working full time, with a brand new baby and two older children during a global pandemic was a wild ride, that’s for sure. While it was a completely crazy time to do this, we realized that the pandemic was the perfect time to launch our business – during the most stressful year most people have ever experienced, anxiety and feelings of isolation led many to increase their alcohol intake as they sought to alleviate increased feelings of stress and fear. Women and parents with young children at home were affected disproportionately, as balancing educating children at home while working took significant tolls on their mental health. Being able to share an alcohol-free option that people could enjoy safely at home felt very important to us to bring to life!
Do you think America has a drinking problem or do you think our laws could be adjusted?
Yes, for sure. Drinking is the only drug that is completely normalized and accepted, even when it is abused. Our drinking culture instills in us, from a young age, that alcohol is an answer to stress, sadness, celebration and everything in between. College environments hammer this in, and when many of us begin our young adult lives, we already believe that alcohol is a necessary way to socialize and celebrate. I don’t know that our laws need to be adjusted, but we certainly have a seriously warped culture that needs to be reexamined.
Alcohol was once prohibited, do you think the sale of alcohol, wine & spirits will decrease throughout the years or do you predict a spike in non-alcoholic options?
The NA category is growing happily! I believe we will still see steady growth in the wine and spirits category, but that the growth in the NA space will be faster as this is an exciting and emerging new market.
Do you think Raising the Bar is a competitor against alcoholic brands or are they in a family all in itself?
Interestingly, category growth within the alcohol-free space is being driven by consumers who are also purchasing alcoholic beverages, which means that this category is not just for the teetotalers – it’s for everyone looking for dynamic choices to mix up their drinking habits. I think Raising the Bar and our counterparts in the NA space are oftentimes alternatives – not replacements.
What can we expect to see next from Raising the Bar?
We are toying with the idea of virtual and in-person events! We would love to deepen our ties to the zero-proof community.