Happy New Year! The head of the year is all about taking stock of our habits and making change, especially when it comes to consumption. A 2021 Statistics Canada survey saw around one in five Canadians drinking less than they did pre-pandemic, and among those aged 15 to 29, one third had decreased their consumption. These trends are set to continue as we move into 2023. Sometimes people want to drink, sometimes they only want to drink a little, sometimes they don’t want to drink at all—for the team behind sparkling water brand Barbet, it’s not that complicated. It’s all about choice. We chatted with co-founder Andrea Grand about Barbet, Dry January and more, below! —Noa Nichol
When and why did you launch Barbet? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
My sister and co-founder Katie has epilepsy and after a particularly bad seizure sent her on the hunt for more zero-proof drinks or complex sparkling water options (alcohol can cause seizures), we discovered that what we were looking for wasn’t yet out there. So, we set out to create a full-flavoured beverage for modern humans. One that was elevated in brand, taste, and values. Our packaging was designed to put alcohol and non-alcohol drinks on a level playing field, our flavours to be bold and full-flavoured, and our charity partners to be ingrained into the fabric of who we are (each can gives back).
What products do you currently offer, and what makes them unique?
We have three full-flavoured sparkling water blends: Wild Card (blood orange, calamansi, jalapeno), Love Bite (pink grapefruit, ginger, juniper) and Light Wave (cucumber, pineapple, lavender). When you sip on our drinks, hopefully, you’ll understand what we mean when we say full-bodied. We’ve taken familiar ingredients and combined them in a way to make a beverage that is complex and modern, plus all our drinks pour out into a colour as we wanted the out of can experience to be just as good as the in can.
Dry January is nearly upon us; any tips for making it 31 days alcohol-free?
We’re taking a different approach to Dry Jan and Dry Feb in that we don’t have expectations around people going completely dry, but we are encouraging people to explore their options so they can make the best choice for them! This includes trying zero-proof recipes or heading out to a dry event—it’s all about finding the yin and yang. Do what feels right for you—dry, damp, or anything in between. These months are an opportunity to take stock and make small thoughtful changes. It’s about making choices that are right for you.
Why do you think people participate in Dry January? What’s the appeal?
In chatting with our community, the top reason seems to be a healthy reset for the mind and body.
Thoughts on extending Dry January year-round, or at least doing a little less drinking of alcohol throughout the year?
I think everyone can agree that drinking a little less alcohol isn’t a bad thing, but beyond that, it is to each their own! I’d rather focus on extending the idea that it is okay to not be drinking and get rid of that question of, “Why aren’t you drinking?” to the rest of the year. January shouldn’t be the only month that people can say, “I’m drinking less,” and it be taken as a legit answer.
Barbet also hosts alcohol-free activities throughout the year; why, and what are some upcoming highlights?
Community is really important to us, and through Jan and Feb we’re showcasing events that aren’t centred around alcohol. Some upcoming events include a Hip Hop Class, Social with Othership, Zero Proof Mixology Class, Volunteer day with Good to be Good and a Digital Screening of A Greener Future’s documentary, Shoreline. All of our events in January and February can be found online. Because our aim is to put alcohol and non-alcohol drinks on a level playing field, during the other months of the year our events have equal prominence of alcohol and zero-proof options to empower people to make the choices that are right for them.
We know Barbet drinks are delish on their own, but can you give us a recipe for a mixed drink using one of the flavours?
Of course! We were lucky enough to partner with Seedlip to develop some delicious zero-proof drinks, here is my favourite from the ones we made:
3oz Barbet Wild Card
1.5oz Seedlip Spice 94
1oz Black Pepper Honey Cordial
0.5oz Fresh Pressed Lemon
Dried Thai Chili Pepper Garnish
Win! A Barbet Prize Pack!
Congrats Ella B. of Toronto, ON, who will receive a Barbet prize pack, including a Mixed Pack of Barbet, a tote and a tee! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.