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Non-alcohol booze industry on the rise

Promoting sobriety through education, conversation and early intervention
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Posted at 6:46 AM, Apr 14, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — “I never had a legal drink, I wasn’t even 21," said Christie Dunkelberger from Cottonwood Tucson.

Dunkelberger had her first sip of alcohol on accident at 9 years old. By 14, she was addicted.

“I could not comprehend a life without alcohol. How do women meet men without alcohol. How do I have fun? How do I dance?" said Dunkelberger.

During her long term recovery journey through sobriety, Dunkelberger reflects on the progress that has been made to make being sober more socially acceptable.

“All of this education and early intervention and breaking the stigma we’ve worked on over the past decades is finally working. I think this new generation has more options on choosing a sober path," said Dunkelberger.

Mocktails, zero proof spirits and non-alcoholic beer options surpassed $11 billion in 2022 and doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.

“I feel like every other week on Instagram I see an ad for a new sober drink," said Dunkelberger.

Local breweries are also feeling the shift of the alcohol industry. Borderlands Brewing Company has started carrying non-alcoholic beer and aguas frescas.

“The month of April produced our largest sales for non-alcoholic beer. We really see that trend increasing downtown," said Ayla Kapahi, Head Brewer at Borderlands Brewing Company. "I think folks, even if they are still enjoying beer, want a non-alcoholic alternative."

Dunkelberger explains she does not think non-alcoholic beverages would be a trigger to her. But, she emphasizes that everyone's journey through sobriety looks different but that it is a step in a positive direction by supporting recovery through more social options.

Brooke Chau is a reporter for KGUN 9. She was a part of Fresno State's newscast, Fresno State Focus and interned at KFSN-ABC30 in Fresno, CA before coming to KGUN 9. Share your story ideas and important issues with Brooke by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.