Going sober? Detroit bars and brands are embracing “dry January” and beyond

Dry January. Sober curious. The language may be changing, but the idea of extending a month-long sobriety into a lifestyle change is growing in popularity.

The idea of “dry January” — giving up alcohol or other vices for a month to kick off the year — has grown in popularity over the past decade, with some abstainers carrying on their sobriety for months after. Detroit bars are starting to take notice of a more health-conscious crowd looking for alternatives when they belly up to the bar.

Tara Jagodzinski bartends and runs the beverage program at Dragonfly, a new bar connected to the restaurant Freya in the city’s Milwaukee Junction neighborhood. While they offer a full alcoholic bar, she’s designed a menu of cocktails that are low-AVB, health-conscious drinks. Her embrace of non-alcoholic drinks earned her a recent write-up in the Detroit News.

The non-alcoholic trend is arriving via retail to consumers, too. Jason LaValla founded the Detroit-based Casamara Club, a new line of non-alcoholic sodas.

Listen: Jagodzinski and LaValla talk about the non-alcoholic trend and why the movement is likely here to stay on CultureShift.


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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host of "In the Groove" on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.