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Celebrate the Holidays with Refreshing Non-Alcoholic Alternatives

Local influencer Jessica D’Amour is on a mission to build a more inclusive culture in which people can attend social gatherings without feeling the need – or the pressure – to drink alcohol. Jessica decided to take a month off of drinking about two and a half years ago to see how she would feel. She was surprised at how much energy she had, but she also noticed how uncomfortable it was to attend parties, particularly those at breweries and bars.

Knowing there is a wide range of reasons why someone may not want to drink alcohol – whether for a year, a lifetime, or even just a night – she was disappointed with the lack of selections she found. In 2019, these instances started popping up more and more, inspiring her to create her own social media account called Spirit Free WNY to share non-alcoholic products and post recipes of her own. A pharmacist by day, experimenting with flavors and creating her own mocktails gave her a much-needed creative outlet, especially when home during the pandemic.

While many have heard of Dry January, the movement around more people choosing not to drink has gained national attention. Terms like “sober curious” are becoming more common as people re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol. Jessica shares that there are many misperceptions around why someone may choose not to drink, and it is up to all of us to create a culture of inclusion that normalizes whatever decision someone chooses to make.

Jessica is amazed by the response she has received since starting Spirit Free WNY, which has continued to gain traction since she launched. She continues to expand with the launch of her website and will be attending local pop-up and vendor fairs, with the goal of eventually opening her own brick and mortar location.

Follow along with Jessica for more tips & recipes on Facebook @ spiritfreejess and Instagram @SpiritFreeWNY