Founded in 2021, non-alcoholic craft brewery RationAle Brewing has rapidly grown to become the fifth-largest non-alcoholic craft beer brand. We sit down with co-founder Jamie Fay to chat about his sober-curious journey, moderating his drinking, and how launching RationAle Brewing has changed his relationship with alcohol.
How has launching RationAle Brewing changed your relationship with alcohol?
Launching RationAle has resulted in my own significant reduction in alcohol consumption. Three years ago, an alcohol-conscious, sober lifestyle was not really part of what I was considering. I just wanted to feel better in the morning and be sharp for business meetings.
I was not expecting to embark on any changes on a personal level. Ironically, the idea behind launching a non-alcoholic beer company came from a conversation with my sons, Tyler and Carter, about my family history of alcoholism and how much alcohol can impact one’s life.
I emphasized making rational decisions about who they were drinking with and the type of alcohol they were drinking — which led to the idea for the brand name – RationAle. That pushed me to launch a company that filled a space in the market.
So it’s been the result of launching RationAle and my own journey of understanding my relationship with alcohol that ended up with at least a 75% reduction in my alcohol intake. This brand has given me the gift of a healthier lifestyle, and sharing that with others through the business has been super cool.
What are some of the most surprising benefits you’ve experienced from reducing your alcohol consumption?
Sleep has been a big one. When I’m not drinking alcohol, I sleep way better – no question. I’m more alert, which has been so important in the day-to-day of running a demanding startup.
I would also say my ability to be present in social situations. I’m more present when I’m not drinking alcohol, and it has opened me up to deeper relationships.
I’m also incredibly proud that my sons have shifted their own perspectives on alcohol because of the presence of this brand in their lives, which, at 18 and 20 years old, is really important.
Any advice for those considering reducing or eliminating alcohol but have not taken the leap yet?
It does not need to be a leap because that can feel scary. It is all about reframing the conversation around what eliminating alcohol represents for you as an individual.
Wanting to reduce alcohol consumption does not mean you are an alcoholic. It is a personal decision and a personal journey that can improve the quality of your life.
My advice is to take small steps, like swapping out an alcoholic beverage for a non-alcoholic beverage. Maybe that is over the course of a week, and you decide that some nights, you are going to sip a kombucha or a non-alcoholic craft beer when you would usually have an alcoholic drink.
Personally, I notice the urge to grab a beer on the weekend when it is time to relax. I want to have a couple of beers, and I do have a couple of beers — but I start with RationAle, and then I will sip a hazy IPA. Even if I have a few drinks, most are non-alcoholic. The next day, I can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle my day.
So overall, it is baby steps. You are talking about changing habits, and you have to want to change those habits in the long term, so it is okay to start small.
Sobriety often involves redefining social circles and relationships. How have your friendships and social interactions evolved throughout your journey, and what advice would you give someone navigating these changes?
While RationAle and my own personal journey are more about moderation than sobriety, my advice is to be open about exploring non-alcoholic beverages. If there was ever a time to be proud to say that, it is now.
Not only is it more socially acceptable to limit alcohol consumption, but there are some amazing products on shelves that have the “cool factor” the market was previously missing, whether it’s wine, beer, or spirits.
There may be some situations you want to avoid, like going to a nightclub with a large group of people who are all drinking, so it is just about being mindful of the situation you are in.
I would also recommend evaluating other habits in your life for an overall healthier lifestyle. Surround yourself with people who are supportive and have a positive impact on you.
And don’t be afraid to explore new interests to expand your social circle. These things can happen slowly — remember, it is not about drastic changes. Just take things one step at a time.
If you had to select a single RationAle beer as your favorite, which one would it be?
That’s a hard one because we have all of our new, reformulated beers, and they are all incredible. But right now, I would say the Mexican Cerveza is my top pick because it goes with pretty much anything.
Right behind that is the new Hazy IPA because it has a great blend of hops and tropical notes and tastes identical to my favorite IPAs.
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