Blog and News

April 25, 2024

By Erin Trauth

Dray, Boston’s first non-alcoholic bottle shop, is quickly growing as a community hub: from gatherings of like-minded people to a meeting spot for yoga, running clubs, book clubs, and the like, Dray is the place to be these days. At the end of March, Dray served as a vibrant backdrop for a fast-growing segment in the NA space: members of Gen Z who gathered for “Mocktail Hour at Dray.” During this exciting event, more than 30 people gathered and mingled to talk about healthy living, breaking from the “norm” of drinking culture, and feeling empowered and uplifted while abstaining. AnnCatherine Conneen and Caroline Conneen of the Girls with Goals podcast (Instagram: @girlswithgoalspod) and Julie Lawton, of Julie Lawton Fitness (Instagram: @JulieLawFit), led the gathering and Q&A session. Attendees enjoyed Dray NA cocktails, made new friends, and asked questions about living authentically, abstaining from drinking as a young person, and growing in the confidence to choose a healthier lifestyle.

“I think choosing to not drink as a person in college or just out of college is partially about having true confidence in whatever decision you want to make for yourself,” AnnCatherine said. “Choosing to not drink – or not drink as much – is all part of a growing and fun community, and Boston is starting to adapt to that community. Now that Dray is open, this movement is hopefully only going to grow.”

For Caroline, the choice to not drink alcohol – or even to just drink less – as a younger woman in her 20s is about finding balance – both in the activities one chooses and in the friendships one keeps. “As long as there is mutual respect, you can find balance in both crowds, if that is what you want,” she said. “But, also, if you choose to not drink entirely, there is nothing to do but gain. You end up gaining sleep, a healthier lifestyle, and the ability to be even more confident in your decisions.”

Julie, who has abstained from drinking for years, notes that the NA lifestyle is also about getting yourself in the right places. “Being in college, you’re not always in an environment that will help you stay away from drinking. But you should do what makes you feel good, and that might mean going for a walk or going to the gym, even on a Friday night. You’ll be surprised: it’s probably going to be packed, and you will be able to find your healthier crowd that way,” she said.

Julie’s observation is right in line with growing evidence that members of Gen Z (by most definitions, those in their early-to-mid 20s right now) are drinking less alcohol than previous generations. Some reports show that Gen Z may drink up to 20 percent less than Millennials did in their 20s, who, compared to prior generations, also drank less while in that age range. In other words: drinking alcohol may be in continual decline for many in the younger demographics, and those abstaining are taking steps to support one another, find each other, and grow community in healthier spaces.

At the Mocktail Hour event, the crew also answered questions about balancing nutrition and health in college environments, exercise regimes, and their favorite non-alcoholic drinks. For attendees, it was a chance to gather in a vibrant, supportive space, where women empowered one another to not drink alcohol – or drink less of it – and join together to look forward to all the non-alcoholic space has to offer – both in improved health and expanded community. “Anything that you may initially lose by not drinking, you’ll end up gaining back more,” AnnCatherine said. “Once you get over the hump of abstaining, and building new or different friendships, it's all just going to be great.”

To learn more about non-alcoholic drink options and the growing NA community in Boston, visit us anytime at Dray!