Sobah founder CLINTON SCHULTZ works as a health and organisational psychologist in the Aboriginal health sector and launched the Aboriginal food truck business, Clinto’s Kupmurri. He tells MAXIM about his non-alcoholic craft beer business, their inaugural involvement with Dry July and how going ‘dry’, short or long term, can help you and others…
Since launching Sobah in December 2017 Clinton Schultz, and his wife Lozen’s, business has had more media attention than they could have ever imagined. “As with most start-ups we’ve had many hiccups along the way,” explains Clinton. “We want to go big-time with the brand, export overseas and increase the range of beverages on offer, and we are having discussions about bringing in investors and ambassadors while growing a strong customer base nationwide.”
Clinto’s Kupmurri food truck became the launching pad to raise awareness for Sobah’s non-alcoholic craft beer, which Clinton came up with while working in drug and alcohol rehab. “I stopped drinking four years ago after my children asked me to stop drinking ‘silly drink’,” he explains. “I was telling clients to stay off or cut down the booze, so I didn’t want to be a hypocrite and go home and drink. I still liked beer so I tried a few imported non-alcoholic beers.” Clinton saw a gap in the market and decided to begin crafting his own non-alcoholic beer with home brew kits, but soon turned to sub-contracting to a brewery in Tweed Heads. “I discovered how well lemon aspen went in beer when adding it to the Czech non-alcoholic beer I was drinking — this led to our Lemon Aspen Pilsner.”
Sobah is marketed as a decent like-for-like alternative beverage to drinking alcoholic beers. “Our brews are not fizzy, yellow water or ‘fake beer’ — it’s real beer minus the alcohol and anyone can enjoy drinking it,” he clarifies. “Through Sobah, we’re addressing Australian drinking culture and providing a healthier alternative for a variety of non-drinkers.” And it doesn’t just stop locally. “We have plans to grow much bigger and we have been asked to export Sobah to the UK and Asia. We’ll also be officially launching our social enterprise ‘The Sobah Initiative’ later this year which will fund drug and alcohol rehab programs with an Aboriginal spiritual and traditional healing origin.”
What’s more, other programs are supporting Sobah and getting behind their initiative. “There is a mindful drinking groundswell in Australia full of purpose-driven brands and people who want to shake up our drinking culture,” says Benny Wallington, founder of 101 Tokens — a program designed for people who want to become smarter drinkers by saying no to binge drinking while still being social and going out. “None of us are the fun police and in any way push people into sobriety, but just want to show everyone that they have options when it comes to drinking. And that the choices we make can have major benefits to all facets of our lives.”
Benny provides a great space to support Dry July campaigners so they can become mindful drinkers when they hit August — without proper preparation for the detox, people can spend the month miserable that they are missing out, then get belted on August 1. He is working with Sobah to change this and by turning to decent non-alcoholic alternatives, people are less likely to feel left out socially. “We’d like to see licensed venues get behind this more by offering decent alternatives to alcoholic beverages, especially since you can only drink so much soda,” says Clinton.
WHY STAYING ‘DRY’ HELPS
Alcohol has many impacts on our whole self. Often we only consider the physical or mental impacts it may be having and don’t consider the effect excessive or irresponsible drinking can have on our family, social or spiritual self. Going ‘dry’ for the month of July allows you to experience many of the positive benefits of abstaining from alcohol consumption for yourself. Clinton takes us through them…
PHYSICAL: Let’s not mince words here — alcohol is a form of poison, particularly when consumed excessively or inappropriately. While there is some evidence to suggest that minor controlled drinking may have some physical health benefits, there is far more evidence telling us of the dangers of alcohol consumption. Some of the short term impacts of drinking can include dehydration and headaches, upset stomach and vomiting, loss of balance and coordination, decreased physical stamina and even alcohol poisoning that can be fatal. Long term, excessive alcohol use has been linked to increased risk of many cancers and chronic diseases. Another reality check is that, for men, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to lowered testosterone levels and has been linked to impotency. The good news is that the time it takes for the physical self to begin healing from alcohol is quite quick. Abstaining from drinking for even just two days a week will lower your risk of forming liver disease and many alcohol related cancers.
MENTAL: Alcohol is a depressant. While you may experience short periods of increased positive mood and lowered social anxiety, you will generally feel lousy once the actual party has stopped or when you wake up the next day with a hangover. Excessive or inappropriate drinking has been linked to both anxiety and mood disorders as well as a range of other mentally related conditions. Long term, excessive alcohol use can lead to addiction issues, chronic mental health concerns — including self-harming — and permanent brain damage such as cognitive impairment. Short term, drinking will alter your ability for positive situational decision making, impact judgement of both yourself and others, loss of motivation and can lead to short term memory loss.
FAMILY: For many people connection to family is an integral element of their overall wellbeing. If you consider the physical and mental health issues raised above it is easy to see how these may have a flow on impact to both family connectedness and the wellbeing of others in the family group. Less time drinking means less time wasted in the act of drinking and less time being hungover – both which equal more time available for family.
SOCIAL: At an individual level, alcohol use is linked to poorer work attendance and productivity by individuals, loss of motivation for engagement with enjoyed activities and increased risk of dispute with others and violence in social situations. In a broader societal context alcohol has been linked to increased cost of burden of disease and ongoing community unrest. Staying “dry” in July is a great opportunity to have some real conversations with friends and families, to see how productive you can be at your work, how hard you can train and compete while sober and to evaluate how important alcohol actually is to your life.
SPIRITUAL: Ever wonder why alcoholic spirits are called ‘spirits’? When we drink excessive amounts of alcohol we are not ourselves – we lose our spirit and take on that of something else – be it changing from a timid person to a wild party animal or a respectful person to an arrogant, disrespectful pig. It is difficult to be the best version of you when you’re not even being you. Abstaining from alcohol completely, or simply drinking less, increases our opportunities to practice being the best version of ourselves and to learn and grow through facing adversities rather than masking these with that ‘alcoholic spirit’. ■
Sobah Beverages is officially supporting the Dry July campaign which encourages participants to abstain from alcohol for 31 days, with support from sponsors, to raise funds for people effected by cancer. Throughout Dry July the people at Sobah ask, “What’s your relationship with alcohol?”. Abstaining for a month gives you time to address this on many levels and work out if your use is responsible or not. What’s more, Sobah is making a donation for every carton they sell in June and July and is seeking corporate sponsorship to dollar match their donation. “We’d be stoked to see people turning to Sobah for Dry July and Ocsober,” says Clinton.
To find out more about the Sobah Dry July campaign go to: http://www.dryjuly.com/teams/go-dry-with-sobah-beer-help-us-give-to-someone-who-needs-our-support
For more info go to www.sobah.com.au
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