In a post explaining Cloudwater Brewing’s new non-alcoholic offerings, Paul Jones the co-founder of the influential Manchester, England-based craft brewery got incredibly honest about his on-again, off-again sobriety.
And because his personal journey and rationale for both drinking and sobriety (as well as those from Cloudwater’s Anja Mahtani who oversees the company’s new ‘soda’ division) were so strikingly honest about the industry and drinking culture…we’re republishing some excerpts from both Jones and Mahtani that we found most compelling.
Paul Jones on his past, both high as well as sober…
“When I was 21 years old, I turned sober for seven years, in order to face up to a sense of dependence I felt I had already developed for being buzzed or merry, or worse high as a kite or drunk. At that time, I was not happy with who I was, lacking both the confidence to be or love myself, and the courage to face the sense of inadequacy and social anxiety that I often tried to overcome with a smoke or a drink.
“ I had relied on smoking weed excessively for 6 years, and Dutch courage for about the same amount of time. As a young adult, I was determined to face myself, to leave panic attacks and anxiety behind, and achieve a sense of peace without modulating my experience with intoxicants.”
I learned to meditate, and studied western, Tibetan, then Zen Buddhism. I went on silent retreats, sitting for up to seven hours a day. Sobriety during those years of my life felt essential. I was sure that all I was missing out on were nights out that may have otherwise taken years off my life.”
“Since returning to drinking alcohol in my late 20s, I still find I yearn for balance and the confidence that working in beer won’t impact my long-term healthfulness, whilst still enjoying merry, belly-aching laughs.”
“I’m no longer drawn to intoxication as I was 20 years ago, as a means of self-medication or numbed self-acceptance, I’m drawn because craft beer is innately social, and it tastes damn good!”
More insightful observations from CloudWater’s Anja Mahtani who oversees the company’s new ‘no-alcohol’ drinks division…
“Drinking culture is changing. As a group of people who work with alcohol day in, day out, we are aware of the ‘requirement’ in this industry to drink, from tasting new products to attending beer festivals, and hosting visitors and events.”
“Drinking beer and other alcohol becomes the default social activity, and sometimes when we step back we may find that we aren’t always 100% comfortable with our drinking habits and how they impact on us, from mental health to productivity and physical wellbeing.”
“It’s becoming clear that people want to make health-conscious choices, and that we can’t really continue as an industry to be a model for unhinged, or uncontrolled drinking. It isn’t sustainable.”
“We approach our sodas as Cloudwater have always approached beer, with a focus on quality production, balanced flavor, precision, creativity, and seasonality.”