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Is the alcohol-fuelled expat lifestyle becoming a cliche? A growing number of people worldwide want to reduce, or eliminate alcohol from their lifestyle. In Australia, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds who abstain from alcohol has doubled in the past 20 years. More consumers are choosing non-alcoholic drinks, with sales of alcohol-free beer up by 44% in the US last year.
It can be a daunting prospect for many to cut back, particularly those in the expat community, as networking and making new friends usually plays out at a bar. Indeed, an alcohol-free expat life is not often heard of!
After noticing there was a lack of alcohol-free drink options in Singapore, two entrepreneurs decided to deliver a refreshing solution. “We found we were always faced with the same problem: where were the decent alcohol-free options?” say Rebecca Forwood and Emma Pike, founders of Singapore-based Free Spirit.
As successful business owners – Rebecca runs The Fishwives, a food retail business with a store and online presence in Singapore, while Emma is the founder of Farmer’s Market, one of Asia’s leading online butchers – they know the local market. They also understand that the local scene is often filled with boozy brunches and wine mixers.
So they decided to use their combined energy and experience to bring Singapore consumers a carefully curated list of alcohol-free beverages that taste as good as the real thing. “Consumers should be free to choose a sophisticated adult drinking experience and not be relegated to sweet sodas and mocktails,” says Rebecca. “Asia is lagging behind other parts of the world when it comes to alcohol-free options, and we’re on a mission to put that right.”
Emma and Rebecca are filling that gap. While neither is completely alcohol-free, they both use alcohol-free drinks as part of a healthier lifestyle. “Free Spirit is not about giving up alcohol completely,“ stresses Emma. “But giving your body a break now and again from alcohol is never a bad thing. If you find it hard to go completely dry, try to go drier.”
No more FOMO
Downing high-calorie sodas all evening isn’t that appealing and juice can contain just as much sugar, leaving consumers to lean on bland alcohol-free beer. But you can show up at a dinner party with an excellent craft beer or a classy bottle of wine, free of booze. As the first exclusively alcohol-free ‘bottle shop’ in Singapore, Free Spirit sells beers, wines and spirits that taste as good as the real thing, without the alcohol content. “Our products are higher-end and lower in sugar and additives,” Rebecca points out. “The range of alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits we offer has grown exponentially since we launched in late 2020.”
There’s no need for FOMO when opting for a more alcohol-free expat life either, with all the choices available. “There’s so much to choose from, including traditionally-brewed craft beers and exceptionally good wines and botanical spirits,” says Emma. “We’ve both sampled incredible zero-alcohol sparkling wines that featured all the flavour we were craving, minus the headache the next day.”
It’s only a matter of time before a range of alcohol-free drinking options are widely available at restaurants and bars – similar to our changed eating habits. “In Singapore it’s totally normal now to cater to vegetarians and vegans, and we believe that sophisticated alcohol-free choices should also be on the menu wherever we eat and drink,” says Emma.
A positive trend with benefits
There are certainly many benefits of going no or low-alcohol: your sleep patterns will improve, you’ll be more hydrated and you’ll look and feel better.
“Even if you can cut back a few days a week or have just a few less drinks on a night out, you’ll be doing your body a favour,” says Rebecca. “But Free Spirit is not about sobriety, we’re about options. We’re not pushing abstinence; it’s more about having choices to easily take a break and reset.”
Many of their products are low-calorie, so it’s great if you want to lose weight. From sparkling Chardonnays to crisp rosés, even without the alcohol, the experience is just as sweet. “Everything in our store is tried and tested and hand-selected by us, so we can vouch that you won’t be missing the sugar – or the booze,” stresses Emma.
It’s easy to get these quality alcohol-free drinks delivered to your home via the Free Spirit website at freespirit.com.sg. The plan is to be able to enjoy their popular range of products at more local establishments – check out the growing list of local bars and restaurants stocking Free Spirit’s alcohol-free drinks at freespirit.com.sg/pages/where-to-buy.
“We’re determined to get Singapore’s bar and restaurant industry on board to give a better choice of alcohol-free options to their customers. It’s our dream to put alcohol-free beverages on the menus of at least 50% of bars and restaurants on the island in the next two years,” vow the Free Spirit founders.
Since they carry Singapore’s biggest selection of the world’s best alcohol-free beers, wines and spirits that taste as good as the real thing, it seems doable. Those who don’t want to drink but still want the feeling of drinking will be toasting their thanks.
Feeling sober-curious? Try Free Spirit
Enjoy Singapore’s biggest selection of alcohol-free drinks with 20% off your first order using code ANZA20. Try one of Free Spirit’s alcohol-free packs with a range of hand-selected products, especially if you’re new to the range. Free Spirit home delivers across Singapore six days a week, with free delivery on orders over $80.