Restaurants Need to Understand Sober Culture (Infographic)

As the sober-curious movement grows, new socializing norms and behaviors are emerging. BARE Zero Proof’s first annual “The State of Sober Socializing” study unpacks the changing motivations and behavior of those who choose not to drink alcohol, and examines how the hospitality industry is addressing the needs of this emerging community.

As consumers experiment with alcohol-free socializing, they want acceptance and inclusion from friends and family, and they look to bartenders and restaurateurs to support the new dry culture with knowledge, a welcoming atmosphere, and amazing non-alcoholic beverages. What the research uncovered is what those who do not drink alcohol want from culture, bars/restaurants, friends and family and what they actually experience, are at odds – especially for those temporarily abstaining from alcohol for Dry January.


Some of the key insights from the report include:

  • Almost 70 percent of past Dry January participants, 64% of regular alcohol drinkers, and 46% of those who abstain from alcohol wish bars and restaurants had any or more zero-proof options.
  • Nearly seven in ten of all respondents say they wish social settings were more conducive to accommodating those who drink alcohol and those who do not. The most uncomfortable for non-drinkers are bars and house parties.
  • For Dry January, almost 60 percent of participants feel uncomfortable ordering soda or substitutes from a bartender/server.
  • 65 percent of Dry January respondents say they wish they could order a non-alcoholic beverage that is less obvious to others that they’re not drinking alcohol.
  • Almost 30 percent of past Dry January participants would order a zero-proof cocktail instead of a juice or soda to feel more sophisticated.

More insights are available in the report, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for those in the hospitality industry when serving Dry January participants. The report is available for download here: The State of Sober Socializing.