Sobriety isn’t always spooky

Featured Image: Ceremony offers numerous non-alcoholic beverages at its store locations. Kylea McCarel|Marlin Chronicle

Sobriety doesn’t have to be spooky when you drink with Ceremony’s new non-alcoholic options. Ceremony is a company that gives people a new way for people to think sober for the month of October. Located in Less Than, a local zero-waste and refill shop sells unpackaged food, toilities and cleaning products. Ceremony is an environmentally conscious brand and it is Hampton Roads’ first dry-bottle shop. 

Ceremony offers different kinds of delicious non-alcoholic beverages for those who are looking for a little more than just your typical choice of drink like water and juices. While non-alcoholic beverages tend to lean towards those in a journey of sobriety, they can be enjoyed by anyone. Ceremony’s wide collection of offerings are mostly gluten-free and delicious enough to easily pick favorites. A favorite seller of those that come in is the premixed mocktails. These closely resemble the recently popular alcoholic seltzers. Many of the flavors bear a strong resemblance to typical alcoholic drink favorites like bellinis, mojitos, Moscow mules and berry Manhattans. Offering solutions to those who enjoy a hearty wheat beer after work or a glass of wine on the weekends is their specialty. 

“We are dedicated to sustainability and only offer options that are packaged in glass and aluminum,” said Krystal Gonzalez, a business development representative for Less Than and Ceremony. 

“While they are technically two separate stores, both are operated with similar ideals in mind,” Gonzalez said. All bar accessories and retail goods are sent out with plastic-free shipping and contain “better-for-you ingredients,” she said. 

Non-alcoholic beverages are defined as having .5% or less alcohol by volume (ABV). Unlike water, juices, tea and sodas, the non-alcoholic beverage options in the store are made quite differently. Through a similar process to regular beer and wine spritzers, non-alcoholic versions are fermented and produced with an additional step of distillation.

Distillation of these drinks allows for most of the alcohol to be cooked out while still leaving the well known flavors of your favorite drink behind. Other options are built alcohol-free from the ground up using natural ingredients to create the right flavor profile without requiring a fermentation process.

The mental and physical health benefits from being sober for extended periods of time are vast, but many college students tend to find stress relief in drinking and enjoying alcoholic beverages after a long week of classes. 

“There’s a spectrum where we can use a substance and it doesn’t cause us harm to our health,” said April Christman, VWU’s director of Counseling and Student Health. Christman said,“when it progresses to us not being able to perform… like going to class,” this can tend to cause the opposite effect in the long run. She further warned that non-stop drinking could cause harm if it does not allow a person to function properly, such as not going to class.  That slow, sluggish feeling you have after a night out may cause more harm than good. 

Benefits of being sober include a wide range of effects including mental clarity, increased physical energy, consistent sleeping patterns and can even cause better skin. Although when on a college campus the temptation to drink may be troublesome, Christman offered many solutions to those who find it hard.

The Counseling Services Suite offers a safe space for those to talk without the worry of being judged or put down. Christman suggests coming in and developing a plan or even just talking through what may be prompting you to participate. “Communication is key,” Christman said. 

She also suggests reaching out to those around you. Friends can be a great source to lean on in times of need. Other people you can reach out to include the faculty members on campus. People like Jason Seward, the associate president for Campus Life, coaching staff for student-athletes or even your resident assistants are great people who will listen. 

April Christman’s office is located upstairs in the Jane P. Batten Student Center in the Counseling Services Suite. She is always open to meeting new smiling faces looking for guidance. The Student Counseling Center offers a variety of services and options to those looking to find sobriety. If substituting your after-class beers with the tasty non-alcoholic versions from Ceremony doesn’t seem to do the trick, their door is always open.

You can find a Less Than near you at 24 S. King St Hampton, 803 Shirley Ave Norfolk, 1 N Lombardy St. Richmond, and 1624 Laskin Rd #478 Booth A8 Virginia Beach.  

You can follow them at @golessthan and @enjoyceremony.

By Kylea McCarel