Jan 18, 2023 - Food and Drink

5 dry questions with Austin's Tori Bertschy

Austin resident Tori Bertschy has launched her own podcast and offers event hosting services as a growing number of people aim to reduce their alcohol intake. Photo: Courtesy of Tori Bertschy

We're halfway through Dry January, and Austin resident Tori Bertschy wants to inspire others to cut back on the booze all year round.

State of play: While Gallup polling shows that the percentage of U.S. adults who drink has held steady around 63% for years, Americans are consuming fewer drinks per week than at any point since 2001.

  • Meanwhile, Dry January participation dropped 4 percentage points, from 19% in 2022 to 15% this year, according to a recent Morning Consult analysis, but young people are increasingly choosing to pursue a "sober curious" lifestyle by limiting their alcohol intake all year round.
  • "Fewer drinkers overall is likely one of the reasons participation is down this year," Morning Consult food and beverage analyst Emily Moquin found.
  • Plus, recent research has found that any amount of alcohol can have health consequences.

Zoom in: A growing number of local bars and restaurants are dedicating portions of their menu to nonalcoholic options.

Why it matters: Bertschy, who moved to Austin last June, is part of that shift. She launched her own podcast, mocktail recipe book and in-person and virtual event hosting services.

We spoke to Bertschy about her brand — Host by Tori — and the rising popularity of a sober curious lifestyle:

Why were you first inspired to launch Host by Tori?

"I felt the brand extended beyond mocktails and wanted to inspire others to live a life that doesn't have to revolve around alcohol."

Do you think Austin is an easy city to explore being sober or zero-proof forward?

"Absolutely. What I love about Austin is how much there is to do and explore — workout classes, coffee shops, taco trucks, Barton Springs, walking Lady Bird Lake, water activities in the summer, hikes and so much more.
And more and more restaurants are providing nonalcoholic options that are actually good."

What advice do you have for people hoping to extend their Dry January beyond this month?

"Take it one step at a time! Instead of trying to go completely dry, you could think about just being more mindful with your drinking and choosing when a drink is worth it to you. Taking a more mindful and intuitive approach can likely build more sustainable habits."

Have you found that there are a lot of bachelorette parties in Austin ready to explore cutting the alcohol with your in-person event hosting?

"I do think there is an appetite for this — but it's still early! I just launched my services and hope to expand this more."

Favorite mocktail at the moment?

"Favorite mocktail always is a Ghia Spritz. But in Austin, my favorite mocktail is at Comedor, called the Beet Happening — with beet Thai chili syrup, pineapple, lemon and soda. IT'S SO GOOD."

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