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Health conscious millenials opt for organic booze

'Healthy alcohol' on the rise, but the beverages don't benefit the consumer

Tasting room supervisor Paty Kunzler pours an organic beer at Dogwood Brewery, Vancouver’s first organic brewery Photo: Trevor Nault
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Reported by Trevor Nault

As Vancouverites gear up for the holiday drinking season, they could be seeing a lot more “healthy alcohol” on store shelves, but consumers might not see the benefits they expect.

A decline in global alcohol consumption looks to be generational in some markets, inspiring a growing trend of wellness focused drinks that chalk up the quality of their ingredients without making any specific health claims according to drink trends consultant, Claire Dodd.

“It’s not about saying it’s good for you,” Dodd said. “It’s about saying these ingredients have a functional benefit.”

South Vancouver Liquor Store assistant manager Jordan Cran said he also notices the trend in a higher demand for organic drinks.

Flo Vinger of Los Angeles based Ving Vodka said she’s certainly marketing her line of “farm fresh” vodkas to the “Whole Foods wellness community,” but would never call them a health product.

Though the kale in her Kale, Lemon Peel, and Cucumber Infused Organic Farm Fresh Vodka offers no nutritional benefits, she stands by the purity of her product.

“It’s a clean vodka,” said Vinger. “It’s the cleanest.”

Ving Vodka is in the process of expanding into Canada where it will join a host of similar drinks in the Vancouver market.

Healthy alcohol doesn’t benefit health

Dogwood Brewing brewmaster, Claire Wilson, opened Vancouver’s first organic brewery in 2015. For Wilson, organic isn’t about individual health, so much as the health of her community.

“The choice to make organic beer was as much about supporting local organic growers,” said Wilson.

Still, Wilson said some of her customers who experience adverse health effects from traditional beers like swollen fingers report less with organic. She suspects this could be due to the presence of sulfites or pesticides, of which she claims her beers have none.

That being said, Wilson also confirms her beers are not health products.

“The millennial generation is looking for products that are better for you,” said Dodd. “It’s fashionable to be going to the gym, it’s not fashionable to be stumbling out of a bar.”

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