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Cutting back on booze: how the ‘sober curious’ movement is impacting Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The New Year can bring about New Year’s resolutions. Some even use the first month of the year to take a break from alcohol, coining the thirty-one days, ‘dry January.’

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However, more people are cutting back on the booze and looking into being “sober curious.”

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Wildcrafters Kava Bar in Riverside makes its’ drinks with zero alcohol. It opened its’ doors in January of 2020, just in time for those looking to start a sober new year.

“The amount of hate that we got from most people in Jacksonville was kind of funny,” Yhang Quintero said. He’s the owner of the establishment. The pandemic hit two months later, and Quintero had to temporarily shut his doors.

It was the come back that really boosted business. It was this idea of a “sober curious” movement.

“Alcoholism kind of took off at the beginning of the pandemic, and halfway through it people had to put a break on that,” Quintero said. “I decided Kava was gonna be that alternative.”

January is one of the busiest months for Wildcrafters, as many people are going “dry” for January. However, research suggests people might cut back beyond January 31, 2024.

Young adults aren’t drinking as much compared to two decades ago, according to the Pew Research Center. (https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2024/01/03/10-facts-about-americans-and-alcohol-as-dry-january-begins/

) Data shows the number of people, ages 18 to 34, who drink dropped from 72% between 2001 to 2003 to 62% between 2021 to 2023.

“I see more people getting around an all-around wellness, not necessarily stopping drinking but more of a curious,” Quintero said.

Right now, there are three Kava bars in Jacksonville.

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The drug (https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/kava/made) from ground roots of plants in the South Pacific can mimic some of the relaxing qualities of an alcoholic beverage. You shouldn’t mix it with medication or alcohol, and you should always consult with a doctor. However, it’s used as a way to de-stress.

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